Ancient Intracluster Light

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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.
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·       Hubble images of galaxies clusters MOO J1014+0038 (left panel) and SPT-CL J2106-5844 (right panel) with intracluster light emphasized in blue: NASA, ESA, STScI, James Jee (Yonsei University). Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).
Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Brandon Lawton
Education review: Jim Manning
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Images of galaxies, nebulas, and planets in space. Text, News from the Universe.
January 12, 2023. Ancient Intracluster Light. A photo from the Hubble Space Telescope consisting of bright circular and disc-shaped points on a black background. Some glow orange or yellow and others have a blue halo of light around them.
Amid clusters of massive galaxies, there are some stars that float free, with no galaxy to call home.
There are multiple theories to explain how the stars were orphaned, and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has just eliminated one of them.
Looking back through space and time, Hubble shows the intracluster glow of orphan stars remains constant, instead of growing brighter as the galaxy cluster develops.
Hubble indicates the orphan stars were there from the beginning of the cluster formation, rather than being flung loose by recent galaxy interactions. Somehow, the early universe created many orphan stars that remained homeless as galaxies came together in massive clusters. Finding the answers to how and why continues.
This news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.