PIA08509: Galaxies Gather at Great Distances
 Mission:  Spitzer Space Telescope
 Instrument:  IRAC
Mosaic-I Camera 
Mayall 4-Meter Telescope 
 Product Size:  1114 x 1380 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  California Institute of Technology 
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA08509.tif (4.618 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA08509.jpg (365.3 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Distant Galaxy Cluster Infrared Survey Poster
Original Caption Released with Image:

 Click here for PIA08509 Distant Galaxy Cluster Infrared Survey poster
Click here for Bird's Eye View Mosaic of PIA08509Click here for Visible-Light Image
Bird's Eye
View Mosaic
Bird's Eye View
Mosaic with Clusters

 Click here for PIA08509 9.1 Billion Light-Years Click here for PIA08509 8.7 Billion Light-Years Click here for PIA08509 8.6 Billion Light-Years
9.1 Billion Light-Years8.7 Billion Light-Years8.6 Billion Light-Years

Astronomers have discovered nearly 300 galaxy clusters and groups, including almost 100 located 8 to 10 billion light-years away, using the space-based Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Ariz. The new sample represents a six-fold increase in the number of known galaxy clusters and groups at such extreme distances, and will allow astronomers to systematically study massive galaxies two-thirds of the way back to the Big Bang.

A mosaic portraying a bird's eye view of the field in which the distant clusters were found is shown at upper left. It spans a region of sky 40 times larger than that covered by the full moon as seen from Earth. Thousands of individual images from Spitzer's infrared array camera instrument were stitched together to create this mosaic. The distant clusters are marked with orange dots.

Close-up images of three of the distant galaxy clusters are shown in the adjoining panels. The clusters appear as a concentration of red dots near the center of each image. These images reveal the galaxies as they were over 8 billion years ago, since that's how long their light took to reach Earth and Spitzer's infrared eyes.

These pictures are false-color composites, combining ground-based optical images captured by the Mosaic-I camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, with infrared pictures taken by Spitzer's infrared array camera. Blue and green represent visible light at wavelengths of 0.4 microns and 0.8 microns, respectively, while red indicates infrared light at 4.5 microns.

Kitt Peak National Observatory is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tuscon, Ariz.

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