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Abell 2218

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Constellation(s)  Draco
Declination  +66° 13′ 00″
Richness class  4
Right ascension  16 35 54
Number of galaxies  ~10,000
Bautz-Morgan classification  II
Abell 2218

Abell 2218 is a cluster of galaxies about 2 billion light-years away in the constellation Draco.

Acting as a powerful lens, it magnifies and distorts all galaxies lying behind the cluster core into long arcs. The lensed galaxies are all stretched along the cluster's center and some of them are multiply imaged. Those multiple images usually appear as a pair of images with a third — generally fainter — counter image, as is the case for the very distant object. The lensed galaxies are particularly numerous, as we are looking in between two mass clumps, in a saddle region where the magnification is quite large.

Gravitational lensing

Abell 2218 was used as a gravitational lens to discover the most distant known object in the universe as of 2004. The object, a galaxy some 13 billion years old, is seen from Earth as it would have been just 750 million years after the Big Bang.

The color of the lensed galaxies is a function of their distances and types. The orange arc is an elliptical galaxy at moderate redshift (z=0.7). The blue arcs are star-forming galaxies at intermediate redshift (z=1-2.5). The encircled very red pair is the newly discovered star-forming galaxy at about redshift 7.


Abell 2218 Wikipedia

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