This splatter of colour interrupted by scatterings of galaxies is Pandora’s cluster, a cosmic crash that took place over a period of roughly 350 million years.
Just like its namesake, Pandora’s Box, the cluster is made up of a variety of phenomena. This strange celestial object includes two bow shock features, as well as a gaseous cosmic slingshot that was kick- started by a collision of at least four galaxy clusters.
The image is made up of a combination of data grabbed by space-bound missions (the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory) along with the Earth-bound instruments the Very Large Telescope and the Japanese Subaru telescope.
The galaxies in this gigantic cluster make up less than five per cent of its mass, while around 20 per cent is made of gas that’s so unbearably hot it glows in a blazing red, representative of X-rays. Blue colouring marks around 75 per cent of the cluster, showing the distribution of elusive and invisible dark matter. This exotic material rarely interacts with normal matter, or even itself, except through its gravitational pull.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA/STScI