JUN 05, 2016 10:42 AM PDT

Galaxy Cluster From the Early Universe Presents Itself to Astronomers

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Astronomers are in awe as they have recently discovered a gigantic cluster of galaxies forming about 12 billion light years away from Earth.
 
At such a great distance, we’re seeing the light from the protocluster as it was 12 billion years ago, and so we get a very detailed view of the early universe at just some 12% of the universe’s current estimated age, at just 1.7 billion years after the creation of the universe.
 

A protocluster recently discovered in the depths of space is massive, and could help us to learn more about why they exist.

 Image Credit: Dr. Rui Xue, Purdue University


The astronomers, which observed the protocluster using high-power telescopes on Kitt Peak in Arizona and in Mauna Kea in Hawaii, note in the Astrophysical Journal that they had observed a patch in the sky no larger than two full moons to find the protocluster.
 
“Many of the faint galaxies in this patch lie at the same distance,” says Arjun Dey (National Optical Astronomy Observatory). “They are clumped together due to gravity and the evidence suggests that the cluster is in the process of forming.”
 
The protocluster is estimated to have the mass of around a thousand trillion Suns, which is unbelievably heavy. Finding galaxy clusters this large in the midst of forming is not a common occurrence; in fact, it’s pretty rare.
 
With nothing more than the staple of the universe, gravity, holding them together and slowly continuing to bring them closer together inside of a dense patch of the universe, it’s believed that the cluster will continue to mature as a brighter, denser galaxy cluster is eventually formed.
 
“The protocluster will very likely grow into a massive cluster of galaxies like the Coma cluster, which weighs more than a quadrillion Suns,” said Dr. Kyoung-Soo Lee, a co-author of the study and the one responsible for discovering the protocluster.
 
We don’t fully understand the dynamic of the formation of galaxy clusters this large, but finding more of them in our skies could help astronomers to study their unique physics and qualities and learn how and why they are formed.
 
For this reason, astronomers are now searching our skies, peering deep into the boundaries of our universe with powerful telescopes, in an attempt to find more protoclusters just like this one.
 
Source: National Optical Astronomy Observatory via Sky and Telescope

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Cluster of Free-Floating Planets Captured by Kepler Telescope
JUL 09, 2021
Cluster of Free-Floating Planets Captured by Kepler Telescope
The Kepler Space Telescope has captured evidence of mysterious free-floating planets, or planets that are alone in deep ...
JUL 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
JUL 20, 2021
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) Florida. Four days later, astr ...
JUL 22, 2021
Space & Astronomy
On Mars, the Perseverance Rover is Set to Acquire Its First Sample
JUL 22, 2021
On Mars, the Perseverance Rover is Set to Acquire Its First Sample
One of the special features of NASA's Perseverance Rover is its ability to perform some scientific experiments. One of i ...
AUG 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
AUG 09, 2021
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
Magnetization on the moon may come from impact events from objects like meteors instead of the presence of a magnetic sh ...
NOV 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
NOV 09, 2021
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was born November 9, 1934, 87 years ago today. He would go on to become one of the most influential voices in ...
DEC 28, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Apollo 17 Moon Samples Illuminates Moon's Evolution
DEC 28, 2021
Apollo 17 Moon Samples Illuminates Moon's Evolution
The Apollo Moon missions not only succeeded in landing the first humans on the surface of our nearest planetary neighbor ...
Loading Comments...