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The Lynx Arc
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The Lynx Arc

November 5, 2003
While chasing the spectrum of a mysterious arc in a cluster of galaxies within the obscure northerly constellation Lynx, astronomers have stumbled upon the most massive and distant star-forming region ever discovered. The notably red Lynx arc lies right of center in this color image of the galaxy cluster, a composite of Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based data. While the galaxy cluster lies about 5 billion light-years distant, spectroscopic studies show that the arc itself is actually a distorted image of an even more distant but enormous star-forming region. The image is formed as the closer galaxy cluster's gravity bends light like a magnifying lens, an effect explained by Einstein's theory of gravity. In fact, the monster star-forming region is nearly 12 billion light-years away and about a million times brighter than the more familiar stellar nursery, the Orion Nebula. Estimates are that the star-forming region seen as the Lynx arc contains about a million massive, hot s


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