This is the fifth in a series of posts introducing and providing essential facts about each of the Frontier Fields.
As observed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster is incredibly bright in high-energy X-ray light1. When neighboring galaxies or clusters of galaxies merge due to gravity, the infalling gases collide. The resulting shock heats the gas, which then emits high-energy X-ray light. The Abell S1063 galaxy cluster’s X-ray brightness is one of the clues that suggests we may actually be observing a major event involving the merging of multiple galaxy clusters.
The Abell catalogue of galaxy clusters was first compiled by astronomer George O. Abell in 1958, with over 2,700 galaxy clusters observable from the Northern Hemisphere. The Abell catalogue was updated in 1989 with galaxy clusters from the Southern Hemisphere.
The locations of Hubble’s observations of the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster (right) and the adjacent parallel field (left) are plotted over a Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) image. The blue boxes outline the regions of Hubble’s visible-light observations, and the red boxes indicate areas of Hubble’s infrared-light observations. A scale bar in the lower left corner of the image indicates the size of the image ...