These are galaxies of the
Cluster, an archipelago of
island universes a mere
500 million light-years away.
Also known as
this cluster is loaded with gas and dust rich,
star-forming spiral galaxies
but has relatively few elliptical galaxies,
which lack gas and dust and the associated newborn stars.
The colors in
deep composite image
clearly show the star forming galaxies with a blue tint and
galaxies with older stellar populations with a yellowish cast.
The sharp picture spans about 1/2 degree across the
cluster center, corresponding to over 4 million light-years at the
cluster's estimated distance.
In the cosmic vista many galaxies seem to be
while others seem
distorted - clear evidence that
In fact, the Hercules Cluster itself may be seen as the result of
ongoing mergers of smaller galaxy clusters and is thought to be
similar to young galaxy clusters in
the much more distant,