Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
September 2, 1995
Hot Gas and Dark Matter
Credit: ESA, NASA, R. Mushotzky
Explanation: Is the gravity of the above galaxies high enough to contain the glowing hot gas? Superposed on an optical picture of a group of galaxies is an image taken in X-ray light. The X-ray picture, taken by ROSAT, shows confined hot gas highlighted in false red color, and provides clear evidence that the gravity exerted in groups and clusters of galaxies exceeds all the individual component galaxies combined. The extra gravity is attributed to dark matter, the nature and abundance of which is the biggest mystery in astronomy today.
Tomorrow's picture: Earth's Moon, A Familiar Face
We are proud to acknowledge that an external review by Point Communications has rated Astronomy Picture of the Day in the top 5 percent of all World Wide Web sites.