Have you ever heard of El Gordo? No, we’re not talking about a person – rather, El Gordo is a galaxy cluster.Recently, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has captured an infrared image of El Gordo that reveals a bounty of never-before-seen objects.
El Gordo, meaning the “Fat One” in Spanish, is located 6.2 billion light years away from us and is reportedly the most massive cluster known to exist at that time. It’s said to be a “cosmic teenager” due to its age. Not only that, El Gordo also acts as a gravitational lens and distorts and magnifies the light from distant background galaxies – something which can be seen in the new image! For example, two of the most prominent features in the image are the Thin One (located just below and left of the image center) and the Fishhook (a red swoosh at upper right).
The new image of El Gordo is allowing scientists to study these distant and dusty objects like never before. Galaxies like El Gordo can provide insight into how galaxies form and evolve over time. Thanks to this image, astronomers now have a unique opportunity to understand more about these distant galaxies and their behavior.
The incredible power of modern telescopes like James Webb Space Telescope, then, cannot be overstated. Astronomers have been able to make new discoveries about the universe simply by using such telescopes to observe galaxies like El Gordo – discoveries which would have otherwise remained hidden from our view.