Abell 496
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Abell 496

May 19, 2005
This photo shows the central cD-type galaxy in the Abell 496 cluster.

The cluster Abell 496 is noteworthy for its broad range of galaxy types, which include virtually all morphological sub-types known. Among the brighter cluster members, elliptical galaxies are the most numerous, e.g. the one at the centre of this photo.

Galaxy clusters like Abell 496 also contain very hot gas (about 1 million deg), but of such a low density that it is invisible in optical light; it is only detectable by its X-ray radiation. The massive central galaxy in Abell 496 accretes some of this gas at the unusually high rate of well over 100 solar masses per year. On time scales of millions to billions of years, this gas is then transformed into new stars.

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