Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster May Be Most Massive Ever
Image: Artist’s impression of the galaxy at the center of the Phoenix Cluster, which is forming about 740 new stars per year. Image released August 15, 2012. Credit:NASA/CXC/M.Weiss
An extraordinary cluster of faraway galaxies is shattering or challenging a number of cosmic records, weighing in as potentially the most massive cluster known.
The colossal galaxy cluster is also the brightest in X-ray light, and the galaxy at its heart apparently gives birth to more than 700 stars per year – hundreds of times as fast as our Milky Way forms stars, researchers say.
The cluster of galaxies, located about 7 billion light-years away, is formally known by the alphabet-soup name of SPT-CLJ2344-4243. Astronomers also have given it a more informal moniker: the Phoenix cluster, named after the constellation in which it resides. It appears to contain thousands of galaxies with a range of sizes, from dwarf galaxies to conglomerations of stars about the size of the Milky Way.