True color radio image of Abell 2256
Astronomers created this true color radio image of Abell 2256 using new capabilities on the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). It is the most detailed image yet of a fascinating region where clusters of hundreds of galaxies are colliding, creating a rich variety of mysterious phenomena visible only to radio telescopes.
The image shows the region as it would appear if human eyes were sensitive to radio waves instead of light waves. In this image, red shows where longer radio waves predominate and blue shows where shorter radio waves predominate, following the pattern we see in visible light.
The image shows a number of odd features that astronomers think are related to an ongoing collision of galaxy clusters. The region is called Abell 2256, and is about 800 million light-years from Earth and some 4 million light-years across. The image covers an area in the sky almost as large as the full moon. Studied by astronomers for more than half a century with telescopes ranging from radio to X-ray, Abell 2256 contains a fascinating variety of objects, many of whose exact origins remain unclear.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities Inc. (Date of Image: 2015)
Credit: Owen et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF
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