NASA has discovered the most distant galaxy cluster using their Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other telescopes. According to the agency, the galaxy cluster is called CL J1001+0220 or CL J1001, which is located 111 billion light years away from Earth.
“This galaxy cluster isn’t just remarkable for its distance. It’s also going through an amazing growth spurt unlike any we’ve ever seen,” points out lead researcher Tao Wang from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Galaxy clusters are the biggest structures held by gravity in the universe. The newly found galaxy cluster has 11 huge galaxies located at its core.
Nine of the galaxies are experiencing the emergence of stars. Experts estimate that the rate of the baby boom of stars is similar to 3,000 suns forming annually.
The elliptical galaxies in CL J1001, like other galaxy clusters, could have formed their stars within a shorter period of time and more violent outbursts than the ones found outside the galaxy cluster. However, the star information mostly takes place when the galaxies fall into the cluster.
Moreover, CL J1001 has an incredibly high amount of mass in stars in comparison to its total mass based on the scientists’ computer simulations. Further investigations are still needed.
Nevertheless, the team expects that their discovery could help them understand more about the formation of galaxy clusters and the galaxies inside them. Co-author Alexis Finoguenov of the University of Helsinki in Finland adds that they plan to search for more galaxy clusters.
Apart from Chandra, the study found in The Astrophysical Journal also used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, ESO’s Very Large Telescope, ESA’s XMM-Newton and Herschel Space Observatory, the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique Northern Extended Millimeter Array (IRAM NOEMA), the NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).