Colossal Coma Cluster of Galaxies Dominates Skywatcher Photo

coma cluster block skywatching
Located 321 million light years from Earth, the Coma Cluster of Galaxies, or Abell 1656, contains more than 1,000 identified galaxies. (Image credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona)


The massive Coma cluster of galaxies glows in this spectacular skywatching photo.

Astrophotographer Adam Block captured this image of the Coma cluster, or Abell 1656, from Arizona's Mount Lemmon SkyCenter in February 2012.

Located 321 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices, this gigantic cluster comprises more than 1,000 identified galaxies. A light year A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Abell 1656 is one of two major clusters that make up the Coma supercluster. The cluster has several very bright galaxies. The central area of the cluster has NGC 4874 and NGC 4889, two large elliptical galaxies. Like most clusters, this one produces large amounts of dark matter and hot X-ray emitting gas.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.