When it comes to studying some of the most distant and oldest galaxies in the Universe, a number of challenges present themselves. In addition to being billions of light years away, these galaxies are often too faint to see clearly. Luckily, astronomers have come to rely on a technique known as Gravitational Lensing, where the gravitational force of a large object (like a galactic cluster) is used to enhance the light of these fainter galaxies.
This week, the 229th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) kicked off in Grapevine, Texas. Between Monday and Friday (January 3rd to January 7th), attendees will be hearing presentations by researchers and scientists from several different fields as they share the latest discoveries in astronomy and Earth science.
Astronomers have used data from three of NASA's Great Observatories to make the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster. This rare cluster, which is located 10 billion light years from Earth, weighs as much as 500 trillion Suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these megastructures formed and evolved early in the Universe.