It’s a cluster of almost 60 galaxies, the centre of which lies 65 million light-years from Earth.
Using the VLT Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, astronomers have imaged in incredible detail one of the closest galaxy clusters to Earth, called the Fornax Cluster.
Galaxies tend to gather in groups and are held together by gravity and dark matter. They can contain upwards of thousands of galaxies and span millions of light-years. Even our own Milky Way galaxy is part of cluster called the Local Group. And our cluster is part of other clusters that make up the Virgo Supercluster.
While the video above is pretty amazing, it’s the zoomable image that is more so. Be sure to click here and have a look for yourselves.
It might be hard to believe that those yellowy blobs are galaxies, but they are. They’re known as elliptical galaxies and are in the form of, you guessed it, ellipses. They don’t have the type of swirling arms which most people tend to associate with galaxies.
When you zoom in, check out the bright barred spiral galaxy at the lower right. It’s full of young, hot, blue stars and a supermassive black hole at its centre.
If you’re looking for the cluster in the night sky, you’ll have to board a plane: it lies in the southern constellation Fornax. And you’ ll need a big telescope.