Seven billion light years away a newfound galaxy cluster is breaking records and may help unlock secrets related to galaxy evolution and dark energy, according to a new study released this week.
Using telescopes located in Antarctica and in space, a team of astronomers have discovered not only one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, but a massive individual galaxy at its center that is churning out newborn stars at unheard of rates.
According to the lead author of this new study, Michael McDonald an astrophysicist from MIT, this discovery will shed light on large scale galaxy evolution in the universe.
“The prevailing idea is that the most massive galaxies in the Universe grow by consuming smaller galaxies and now we have an example of a massive galaxy which appears to be growing on its own, by forming new stars,” he said. “It appears that this starburst could account for a substantial amount of the galaxy’s stars, suggesting that this is an important ingredient for galaxy evolution.”
McDonald’s team also believes there is much more to be learned from this record-breaking cluster halfway across the Universe. The simple existence of such a massive cluster may help understand Dark energy – the mysterious force that is pulling the universe apart – and help constrain its properties.
“The number of exceptionally massive galaxy clusters like this in the Universe is very sensitive to the assumed nature of the dark energy, so even having 2 or 3 clusters of this mass can rule out various theoretical models,” added McDonald.
Here is a short video explainer of what this amazing discovery is all about…
Tags: cluster, galaxy, Phoenix cluster
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