Galaxy MACS J0717 Print

Galaxy MACS J0717

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The repeated collisions in MACS J0717 are caused by a 13-million-light-year-long stream of galaxies, gas, and dark matter — known as a filament — pouring into a region already full of matter. A collision between the gas in two or more clusters causes the hot gas to slow down. However, the massive and compact galaxies do not slow down as much as the gas does, and so move ahead of it. Therefore, the speed and direction of each cluster’s motion — perpendicular to the line of sight — can be estimated by studying the offset between the average position of the galaxies and the peak in the hot gas.

MACS J0717 is located about 5.4 billion light-years from Earth and is one of the most complex galaxy clusters ever seen.

Credit:NASA, ESA, CXC, C. Ma, H. Ebeling, and E. Barrett (University of Hawaii/IfA), et al., and STScI

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