The giant elliptical galaxy in the center of this image is the most massive and brightest member of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261. Spanning a little more than one million light-years, the galaxy is about 10 times the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. The bloated galaxy is a member of an unusual class of galaxies with a diffuse core filled with a fog of starlight. Normally, astronomers would expect to see a concentrated peak of light around a central black hole. The Hubble observations revealed that the galaxy's puffy core, measuring about 10,000 light-years, is the largest yet seen. The observations present a mystery, and studies of this galaxy may provide insight into how black hole behavior may shape the cores of galaxies. The immense gravity of the galaxy warps the light passing by, smearing out the images of background galaxies, as seen by Hubble.
(NASA, ESA, M. Postman (STScI), T. Lauer
O night of admiration, full of choirs,
O night of deepest praise,
And darkness full of sweet delight!
What secret and intrepid Visitor
Has come to raise us from the dead?
He softly springs the locks of time, our sepulchre,
In the foretold encounter.
-Thomas Merton, "The Dark Encounter", Collected Poems, p. 113'
There is no where in you a paradise that is no place
You do not enter except without a story.
To enter there is to become unnameable.
Whoever is there is homeless for he has no door
and no identity
with which to go out and to come in.
Whoever is nowhere is nobody, and therefore cannot exist
except as unborn:
No disguise will avail him anything
Such a one is neither lost nor found.
But he who has an address is lost.
They fall, they fall into apartments and are
They find themselves in streets. They are licensed
To proceed from place to place
They now know their own names
They can name several friends and know
Their own telephones must some time ring.
If all telephones ring at once, if all names are shouted at
all cars crash at one crossing:
If all cities explode and fly away in dust
Yet identities refuse to be lost. There is a name and number
There is a definite place for bodies, there are pigeon holes
Such security can business buy!
Who would dare to go nameless in so secure a universe?
Yet, to tell the truth, only the nameless are at home in it.
They bear with them in the center of nowhere the unborn
flower of nothing:
This is the paradise tree. It must remain unseen until words
end and arguments are silent.
-Thomas Merton, "The Fall", In the Dark Before Dawn, pp. 184-185