Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

February 18, 1996

Abell 3627 in the Great Attractor
Credit: Digitized Sky Survey (ROE), SkyView
Copyright: STScI, AAO, UK-PPARC, ROE

Explanation: Are these galaxies near the centre of the largest gravitationally bound concentration of mass yet known? Previously, the cluster of galaxies known as Abell 3627 was largely unstudied because dust in the disk of our own Galaxy obscured much of its light. Several galaxies from Abell 3627 appear above as fuzzy blue patches behind many stars in our Galaxy. Recent observations by Renee Kraan-Korteweg (Paris Observatory) and collaborators, however, indicate that this cluster of galaxies is near the centre of the huge nearby conglomeration of mass known as the Great Attractor. Evidence for this was uncovered in new accurate measurements of the large extent and nearby distance of Abell 3627.

Tomorrow's picture: Periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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