On cosmic scales, gravitation and cosmic expansion battle for dominance.
Over time, despite the expansion, galaxies continue to clump together.
Eventually, gravitational growth and mergers dominate, forming galaxy clusters.
The richest, most massive structures only appear at late cosmic times.
Among the objects from the first half of our cosmic history, one stands out: El Gordo.
Through gravitational lensing, this recently discovered cluster was determined to possess 2.1-to-3.0 × 1015 solar masses.
Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) turned its cosmic eyes on this object.
Inside, unprecedented details were revealed.
Through JWST’s views, many new deep, lensed galaxies were uncovered.
Arcs, streaks, and multiple images were all spectacularly revealed.
Additionally, superior measurements of background galaxy shapes leads to a better mass/lensing map.
Included in JWST’s riches are several features never seen before.
This includes the longest, straightest lensed galaxy ever viewed: La Flaca.
There’s a triply-lensed, distant galaxy known as the Fishhook.
And the most distant single red giant star, Quyllur, appears in JWST’s data.
Several galaxies have appearances reminiscent of mitosis: biology’s cell division process.
It’s just one galaxy, on either side of a gravitationally lensing caustic.
These lensing enhancements magnify JWST’s power to unprecedented levels.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words.