About the Object

Category: Galaxies

Galaxy cluster MACS0416 with Mothra pullout

This image of galaxy cluster MACS0416 highlights one particular gravitationally lensed background galaxy, which existed about 3 billion years after the big bang. That galaxy contains a transient, or object that varies in observed brightness over time, that the science team nicknamed “Mothra.” Mothra is a star that is magnified by a factor of at least 4,000 times. The team believes that Mothra is magnified not only by the gravity of galaxy cluster MACS0416, but also by an object known as a “milli-lens” that likely weighs about as much as a globular star cluster.

[Image description: A field of galaxies on the black background of space. In the middle, stretching from left to right, is a collection of dozens of yellowish spiral and elliptical galaxies that form a foreground galaxy cluster. Among them are distorted linear features created when the light of a background galaxy is bent and magnified through gravitational lensing. At centre left, a particularly prominent example stretches vertically about three times the length of a nearby galaxy. It is outlined by a white box, and a lightly shaded wedge leads to an enlarged view at the bottom right. The linear feature is reddish and curves gently. It is studded with about a half dozen bright clumps. One such spot near the middle of the feature is labelled “Mothra]


NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, J. Diego (Instituto de Física de Cantabria, Spain), J. D’Silva (U. Western Australia), A. Koekemoer (STScI), J. Summers & R. Windhorst (ASU), and H. Yan (U. Missouri).

About the Image

Id: weic2327b
Type: Collage
Release date: 9 November 2023, 16:00
Related releases: weic2327
Size: 4457 x 4133 px

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