Abell 2744, Pandora's Cluster
This image of Pandora's Cluster is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the ACS and WFC3 instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble exposure reveals hundreds of foreground galaxies in the cluster as well as nearly 3,000 background galaxies. The gravitational mass of the cluster bends and amplifies light, much like a lens does. Many of the background galaxies would be too faint to be observed without the boost from gravitational lensing. Their images not only appear brighter, but also smeared, stretched, and duplicated across the field.
Abell 2744 is found in the constellation Sculptor, located in the Southern Hemisphere.
|Distance from Earth||
Pandora's Cluster is about 3.5 billion light-years away, and thus looks as it appeared 3.5 billion years ago. Some of the background galaxies are among the most distant known and appear as they looked over 12 billion years ago (less than 2 billion years after the big bang).
The galaxies of Abell 2744 in this image are spread across more than 2 million light-years.
"Fast Facts: Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744" is a table that lists the name, description, location, size, distance from Earth, and age of the cluster. It also lists the distance and age of the background galaxies the cluster has gravitationally lensed. An image of the cluster is included.
Use this resource as:
A source of information. Read the table to find out about out about Abell 2744.
A mapping activity. Locate the cluster's associated constellation on a star map.
An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.
An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.
HubbleSite press release: "Hubble's First Frontier Field Finds Thousands of Unseen, Faraway Galaxies"
Amazing Space resources by topic: Galaxies