NASA Weighs Massive Young Galaxy Cluster

First Posted: Jan 11, 2016 09:26 AM EST

A team of astronomers used data from three of NASA's Great Observatories, which enabled them to compile a detailed study of a large young galaxy cluster. This cluster is about 10 billion light years from the earth and its weight is as heavy as 500 trillion suns, according to a NASA report. The galaxy cluster was identified was IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426), which is one of the most massive galaxy cluster to be detected at an early age.

The galaxy cluster IDCS 1426 was first discovered with Spitzer Space Telescope in 2012 and it was observed using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory to locate its distance.

"We are really pushing the boundaries with this discovery," Mark Brodwin, lead author of the study from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, said in a news release. "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."

 The observations with the Combined Array for Millimeter Wave Astronomy was used to determine the galaxy's massive size. Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the researchers found that 90 percent of galaxy cluster's mass was made up of dark material.

"The presence of this massive galaxy cluster in the early Universe doesn't upset our current understanding of cosmology," said Anthony Gonzalez, coauthor of the study from the University of Florida. "It does, however, give us more information to work with as we refine our models."

This new study is enabling researchers to have a better understanding of how megastructures formed and evolved early in the Universe.

The findings of this study were published in ArXiv.

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