Galaxy Cluster Collision Revealed

Video Player

Video Versions

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Video imagery:
  • Visible-light image of Abell 2146: NAOJ/Subaru Telescope
  • Composite visible-light and X-ray image of Abell 2146: X-ray. NASA/CXC/Univ. of Nottingham/H. Russell et al.; Visible-light: NAOJ/Subaru Telescope
  • Specially processed image of Abell 2146 emphasizing shock fronts, labelled. X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Nottingham/H. Russell et al.; Visible-light: NAOJ/Subaru Telescope
Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Chris Britt
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits


A collage of images of the planets, stars, and galaxies within our current technological purview.
Text, News from the Universe.
June 22, 2022. Galaxy cluster collision revealed. The pinpoint bright lights of planets appear across a vast dark sky.
Text, It takes x-ray vision to see what is really happening in this patch of sky.
One galaxy cluster is passing through another, releasing a huge amount of energy and pushing out a shock wave 1.6 million light-years long. A great billowing cloud of violet gaseous substances trails a giant white sphere.
Text, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory studied the collision for a total of 23 days, creating the deepest X-ray image yet of shock fronts in a galaxy cluster.
A magnified close-up of three clusters, with labels denoting Cluster #1, Cluster #2 tail, Cluster #2 core, Direction of motion of Cluster #2, Shock Wave, and Upstream Shock. Text, Special edge-detection image processing emphasizes the shock fronts. Chandra clocks the random gas motions in these clusters at 650,000 miles per hour.
This news was brought to you in part by the Chandra X-Ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.