D. Heilman Astrophotography

Abell 1656 - Coma Galaxy Cluster

Galaxies typically exist in small groups or gigantic clusters like this one.  These galactic clusters can have members that number from hundreds to thousands. At approximately 320 Mly distant, the Coma Cluster, found in the constellation of Coma Berenices, has thousands of galaxies. This cluster is dominated by the warm yellow glow of ancient ellipticals galaxies that have little to no new star formation. The entire cluster is heavily influenced by the tremendous gravity of two super giants, NGC 4874 and NGC 4889 prominent in this image.  Clusters of this size have tremendous collective gravity and are being used to study the distribution and properties of dark matter in the universe.  Use the  +/- annotation link at the upper right to toggle the overlay of cataloged galaxy positions and identifiers.


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