NASA has taken to its website to reveal a new image snapped by the iconic Hubble Space Telescope. The image is of two objects located in deep space that have masses equivalent to around 30 trillion and 120 trillion times the mass of the Sun.
The Hubble Space Telescope has honed its powerful instrument on the galaxy cluster known as Abell 3192, which is located in the constellation Eridanus. Originally, Abell 3192 was documented in 1989 in an update of the catalog of galaxy clusters that was first published in 1958. In that 1989 update, astronomers believed Abell 3192 was a single cluster of galaxies that was located at a specific distance. However, follow-up observations revealed something surprising to astronomers - the galaxy cluster's mass appeared to be in two distinct points and not one.
This discovery led astronomers to update their description of Abell 3192 to include two independent galaxy clusters, one located in the foreground that's located 2.3 billion light-years from Earth, and the other background galaxy located 5.4 billion light years from our planet. NASA writes on its website that researchers estimate that the masses of these galaxy clusters would be anywhere between 30 trillion and 120 trillion times the mass of the Sun.
"All this unseen material - not to mention the many galaxies visible in this image - comprises such a huge amount of mass that the galaxy cluster noticeably curves spacetime around it, making it into a gravitational lens. Smaller galaxies behind the cluster appear distorted into long, warped arcs around the cluster's edges," writes NASA