World Bulletin / News Desk
A massive so-called galaxy cluster, one of the largest structures in the universe, has been discovered about 5.7 billion light years from Earth and credited with setting several important new cosmic records, U.S.-based researchers said on Wednesday.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in a news release that observations of the cluster, which has shown a prodigious rate of star formation, may force astronomers to rethink how such colossal structures and galaxies that inhabit them evolve over time.
Known officially by an alphabet soup of numbers and letters as SPT-CLJ2344-4243, the cluster has been nicknamed "Phoenix," after the mythological bird that rose from the dead.
That's partly due to the constellation in which it lies. But Michael McDonald, a Hubble fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the Phoenix was also a great way of thinking about the latest astronomical marvel.
"While galaxies at the center of most clusters may have been dormant for billions of years, the central galaxy in this cluster seems to have come back to life with a new burst of star formation," said McDonald, the lead author of the paper on Phoenix, appearing in the Aug. 16 issue of Nature.
Based on observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the U.S. National Science Foundation's South Pole Telescope and eight other observatories, researchers said the center of the Phoenix cluster had been linked to the creation of about "740 solar masses" or stars a year.
By comparison, the Perseus cluster forms stars at a rate about 20 times slower than Phoenix.
"This is just an enormous rate," said Marie Machacek, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. She said huge clusters like Phoenix are thought to host thousands of galaxies and there was still a lot to learn about what goes on within them.
Supermassive black holes in the central galaxy of a cluster have long been associated with low observed star formation rates, as they pump energy into the system and prevent the cooling of gases needed for the creation of stars.
But researchers said the "massive starburst" seen in Phoenix, as it gave birth to about two stars per day, suggested that its central galaxy's black hole had failed to interfere with an extremely strong cooling flow.
"Stars are forming in the Phoenix cluster at the highest rate ever observed for the middle of a galaxy cluster," the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in its press release.
"The object also is the most powerful producer of X-rays of any known cluster and among the most massive. The data also suggest the rate of hot gas cooling in the central regions of the cluster are the largest ever observed," it said.
Facebook will target advertising to Whatsapp users but will steer clear of third party advertising content
The global seed giant Monsanto is pulling its application to introduce GMO cotton seed after a row with the Indian government, which is demanding the company share its technology with local seed companies.
Proxima b could be visited by spacecraft within next 100 years
According to Space X, the rocket “will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating,” and is part of an ongoing effort to reuse rocket parts
Flaming blue fire vortexes could be used to clean up oil spills at sea
$4.8bn Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam prompting fears in Cairo that water could be cut off from downstream Nile nations
Israeli military concerned game could lead to locations and images of military bases being leaked
AG600 developed for use in emergency operations has max cruising speed of 500 km per hour, max flight range of 4,500 km
Vast quantities of rare gas hint at Earth’s past, could power planet’s future
Global temperatures at record highs; Arctic sea ice levels at record lows
23-year-old researcher to create computer models of brain structures in world's largest particle physics laboratory
New mobile game already used by 5 percent of Android users in US
The $180m radio telescope with size of 30 football fields is expected to be operational by September, state media says.
The 41st Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Scientific Assembly will take place between July 30 and August 7 at the Istanbul Congress Center
India launches largest successful satellite mission as it continues focus on space reseach