Meet ESO 146-5

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We're now used to seeing beautiful shots of space taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, but that doesn't mean they're not still jaw-dropping in their gorgeousness – and this picture of galaxy cluster Abell 3827 certainly fits that description.


What you're looking at here is a cluster of hundreds of galaxies of different shapes and sizes, some 1.4 billion light-years away from Earth, with the elliptical ESO 146-5 galaxy at the center – thought to be one of the most massive in the known Universe because of its strong gravitational lensing effect (shown by the uneven blue halo).

Light across four different wavelengths was captured and combined to produce this truly stunning image, and the more you look at it, the better it gets.

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on board Hubble were both used in capturing what you see here.


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"Looking at this cluster of hundreds of galaxies, it is amazing to recall that until less than 100 years ago, many astronomers believed that the Milky Way was the only galaxy in the Universe," writes the European Space Agency (ESA) team that published the picture.

"The possibility of other galaxies had been debated previously, but the matter was not truly settled until Edwin Hubble confirmed that the Great Andromeda Nebula was in fact far too distant to be part of the Milky Way."


 

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