Galaxy cluster’s immense gravity magnifies the light of distant objects
M. Bradac/UCD, D. Coe/STScI
The ultimate telescope upgrade lies about 3.5 billion light-years away in the constellation Sculptor.
Abell 2744 (below) is a galaxy cluster whose tremendous mass — equivalent to 2 quadrillion suns — turns it into a gravitational lens that bends and magnifies light from distant objects. This effect allows astronomers to peer farther into space than any telescope can do alone. By studying images of far-flung galaxies revealed by Abell 2744, researchers created a map (above) that charts how the cosmic lens manipulates light from the far side of the universe.