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Astronomers discover largest mega-structure of galaxies in the universe

17 Jul 2017, 15:58 UTC
Astronomers discover largest mega-structure of galaxies in the universe
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Two most massive clusters of galaxies in the Saraswati supercluster : Abell 2631 cluster (left) and ZwCl 2341.1+0000 cluster (right). Image credit: IUCAA
A team of astronomers from the Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have identified a previously unknown, extremely large supercluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation Pisces. This is one of the largest known structures in the nearby universe and is at a distance of 4,000 million light years away from us.
Large-scale structures in the universe are found to be hierarchically assembled, with galaxies, together with associated gas and dark matter, being clumped in clusters, which are organised with other clusters, smaller groups, filaments, sheets, and large empty regions (voids) in a pattern called the cosmic web, which spans the observable universe.
Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web. A supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies. This newly discovered ‘Saraswati’ supercluster, for instance, extends over a scale of 600 million light years and may ...

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