The galaxy cluster is located 9.8 billion light years away from earth and has a total mass equal to about 400 trillion suns.
NASA astronomers have discovered a new and amazing galaxy cluster that produces hundreds of new stars every year.
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The galaxy cluster was given the name SpARCS1049+56 by scientists and is located 9.8 billion light years away from the earth. It is a combination of at least 27 individual galaxies and its total mass is equal to about 400 trillion suns.
Scientists are particularly amazed how this cluster of galaxy is getting fuel for producing new stars every year.
“Usually, the stars at the center of galaxy clusters are old and dead, essentially fossils,” said lead author of the paper Tracy Webb. “But we think the giant galaxy at the center of the cluster is furiously making new stars after merging with a smaller galaxy.”
At the core of most massive galaxy clusters, usually there is one big galaxy that spits out stars seldom but this galaxy is producing an enormous number of stars every year – about 860 new stars in a single year. Our own galaxy Milky Way, which sits in a small galaxy group called “Local Group”, makes only one to two stars every year.
The galaxy was discovered using Spitzer space telescope and was closely examined by the Hubble Space Telescope and W.M. Keck Observatory near Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Spitzer telescope can detect infrared light and the regions where stars are formed.
“With Spitzer’s infrared camera, we can actually see the ferocious heat from all these hot young stars.” Co-author Jason Surace said.
After seeing the unusual galaxy cluster which is bursting with new stars, Webb said that Hubble found “a train wreck of a merger at the center of this galaxy.”
“Hubble specifically detected features in the smaller, merging galaxy called beads on a string, which are pockets of gas that condense where new stars are forming. Beads on a string are telltale signs of collisions between gas rich galaxies, a phenomenon known to astronomers as wet mergers, where wet refer to the presence of gas. In these smash-ups, the gas is quickly converted to new stars.” Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s statement reads.
Scientists are now planning to find out how many more these kinds of clusters are out there in space. The follow up studies may lead to the early time in our universe when stealing gas from small galaxies was common.
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Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory