NASA has released a stunning image of a galactic cluster — ACO S 295 — that is 3.5 billion light-years away from the Earth taken by the Hubble telescope. It is in the middle of an overwhelming number of other galaxies and a similar number of stars in the small southern constellation of Horologium, also known as the clock. Captured by the Hubble telescope, the cluster, visible as a bright spot, dominates the centre of this image, both visually and physically. NASA said that the huge mass of the ACO S 295 has “gravitationally lensed” the light from background galaxies, because of which their shapes appear distorted.

When light passes one of these massive spatial objects, its path is changed slightly. This is known as gravitational lensing and it is visible in rare cases. Only the best telescopes in the world can observe the phenomena, such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

In a statement, NASA added, “In addition to providing astronomers with a natural magnifying glass with which to study distant galaxies, gravitational lensing has subtly framed the center of this image, producing a visually striking scene.”

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