Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

January 15, 1996
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The Dawn of the Clusters
Credit: NASA, HST, M. Dickinson (STScI)

Explanation: What did the universe look like near the beginning? This exciting photo by the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the deepest ever taken, and shows galaxies as far away as ever before photographed. The universe back then - when only one third of its present age - was a strange and violent place. Back then a large fraction of galaxies were colliding and interacting. In fact, the shapes of many galaxies in the above photo are more distorted than most nearby galaxies. At this early universe epoch many clusters of galaxies were just forming. The bright twisted group of galaxies below the photographs center contains the energetic radio galaxy 3C324.

Tomorrow's picture: Wild Duck Open Cluster M11

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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