In a Different Light: MACS J0717.5+3745

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View MACS J0717.5+3745 in a variety of wavelengths of light and understand what we can learn from each. 

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University.
  • Ground-based Digitized Sky Survey image: ESO, Digitized Sky Survey 2
  • Hubble Space Telescope visible and infrared composite image: ESA/Hubble, NASA and H. Ebeling
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory image: NASA/CXC/SAO/G.Ogrean et al.
  • Jansky Very Large Array image: NRAO/AUI/NSF
  • Hubble Space Telescope dark matter map: NASA, ESA, D. Harvey (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), R. Massey (Durham University, UK), Harald Ebeling (University of Hawaii at Manoa) & Jean-Paul Kneib (LAM)
  • Multi-wavelength image: NASA, ESA, CXC, NRAO/AUI/NSF, STScI, and R. van Weeren (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics); NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI), and the HFF team

Written by Claire Blome
Designed by Dani Player
Editorial and design input from Margaret W. Carruthers; Dr. Quyen Hart; Dr. Christine Jones Foreman, Chandra X-ray Center; and Timothy Rhue II
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music 

Text, In A Different Light. MACS J 0 7 1 7 point 5 plus 3 7 4 5. Quick Facts. Distance, 5 billion light-years. Constellation, Auriga. Object Type, Galaxy Cluster. Radio, Microwave, Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet, X-Ray, Gamma Ray.
Most galaxies are part of galaxy clusters, gravitationally bound groups of hundreds or thousands of galaxies.
Four constellations. Text, Lynx, Auriga, Cancer, Gemini.
MACS J O 7 1 7 point 5 plus 3 7 4 5. Ground-based view. MACS J 0 7 1 7 is made up of four smaller galaxy clusters interlaced with intergalactic gas and dark matter.
A photo of the galaxy cluster.
Text, A view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which combines visible and infrared light, makes it clearer that thousands of galaxies are present.
The words Infrared and Visible are highlighted.
Galaxy clusters generally contain elliptical galaxies, and since their stars are older, they appear yellow.
A picture of blue gasses. The word X-ray is highlighted.
Text, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory transforms the view by showing the gas in this region, which ranges up to 100 million degrees.
Four white circles in various sizes appear marking points across the blue gas.
Text, Researchers can identify four galaxy clusters that are merging within this massive system, in part by tracing the gas.
The circles disappear, and a white rectangle and triangle appear marking points in the blue gas.
Text, X-ray light from the hot gas between galaxies varies in brightness, The hottest gas lies in the bar below the white triangle, it's heat likely derived from a shock wave triggered by one of the cluster collisions.
The rectangle and triangle disappear. The word Radio is highlighted. The galaxy cluster appears in red.
Text, The focal points of the collisions within MACS J 0 7 1 7 are easier to identify in the radio emissions captured by the Jansky Very Large Array telescope.
A white circle appears marking a bright squiggle on the galaxy cluster.
Text, At the center, a section shaped like a boomerang glows in radio light, revealing where shock waves slammed into particles and reenergized them.
The circle disappears. A smaller white circle and long thin oval appear marking points on the cluster.
The straight line of radio light is actually not part of this system, it lies in the foreground. The tiny tail at the bottom left is plasma ejected by a supermassive black hole as its dwarf galaxy moves toward MACS J 0 7 1 7.
A closer view of the cluster.
Not all matter appears in the images our telescopes gather. For example, dark matter cannot yet be directly observed. Instead, its presence is inferred as shown in blue.
The gravity of dark matter binds both matter together in individual galaxies and galaxies in clusters.
Hubble's dark matter map of the region helps to show that dark matter dominates the mass in MACS J 0 7 1 7.
The cluster from farther away. The words Radio, Infrared, Visible, and X-ray are highlighted.
This composite image provides a more complete view of the drama, Galaxy clusters, detected in visible and infrared light, have crashed into one another, creating additional X-ray and radio emissions.
By viewing MACS J 0 7 1 7 in multiple forms of light, researchers can trace the history of the massive galaxy cluster's collisions, increasing our understanding of the dynamics of these objects.