Image release August 19, 2010
An international team of astronomers using gravitational lensing observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken an important step forward in the quest to solve the riddle of dark energy, a phenomenon which mysteriously appears to power the Universe's accelerating expansion. Their results appear in the 20 August 2010 issue of the journal Science.
This image shows the galaxy cluster Abell 1689, with the mass distribution of the dark matter in the gravitational lens overlaid (in purple). The mass in this lens is made up partly of normal (baryonic) matter and partly of dark matter. Distorted galaxies are clearly visible around the edges of the gravitational lens. The appearance of these distorted galaxies depends on the distribution of matter in the lens and on the relative geometry of the lens and the distant galaxies, as well as on the effect of dark energy on the geometry of the Universe.
Credit: NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM).
To view a video of this image go to: www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/4909967467
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.
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