This image of galaxy cluster Abell 2744, also called Pandora's Cluster, was taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The gravity of this galaxy cluster is strong enough that it acts as a lens to magnify images of more distant background galaxies. This technique is called gravitational lensing.
The fuzzy blobs in this Spitzer image are the massive galaxies at the core of this cluster, but astronomers will be poring over the images in search of the faint streaks of light created where the cluster magnifies a distant background galaxy.
The cluster is also being studied by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory in a collaboration called the Frontier Fields project. See Hubble's image of Abell 2744. The image can also be seen at PIA17569.
In this image, light from Spitzer's infrared channels is colored blue at 3.6 microns and green at 4.5 microns.
JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
For more information about the Spitzer mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer and http://spitzer.caltech.edu.