NASA's Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster
08 January, 2016, 16:52
The astronomers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Missouri and University of Florida detected the massive galaxy cluster stating the structure of the cluster to be about 250 trillion times larger than the Sun.
The cluster's name, IDCS J1426.5+3508, is not a memorable one, but McDonald said the collection of galaxies has the potential to reveal how the universe's chemical composition has evolved in the last 10 billion years and show how systems of stars develop.
IDCS 1426 appears to be undergoing a substantial amount of upheaval: The researchers observed a bright knot of X-rays, slightly off-centre in the cluster, indicating that the cluster's core may have shifted some hundred thousand light years from its centre. It would take several billion more years for such galaxies to assemble into massive galaxy clusters - or so scientists had thought.
"We are really pushing the boundaries with this discovery", Professor Brodwin said.
Approximately how many years after the Big Bang was IDCS 1426 formed?
That means astronomers are observing it from when the Universe was only 3.8 billion years old. The scientists surmise that the core may have been dislodged from a violent collision with another massive galaxy cluster, causing the gas within the cluster to slosh around, like wine in a glass that has been suddenly moved. "As one of the earliest massive structures to form in the universe, this cluster sets a high bar for theories that attempt to explain how clusters and galaxies evolve".
Galaxy clusters are conglomerations of tons of to hundreds of galaxies sure collectively by gravity. In addition, astronomers found possible evidence that the abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in the hot gas is unusually low. "It does, however, give us more information to work with as we refine our models".
These results were presented at the 227th American Astronomical Society meeting being held in Kissimmee, Florida.
How was gravitational lensing used by Hubble Telescope and Keck Observatories to determine mass?
In 2012, scientists using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope first detected signs of IDCS 1426 and made some initial estimates of its mass. A paper describing these results has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and is available online.
Science and flight operations for Chandra, which is in space, are handled by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of worldwide cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.