Galaxy cluster discovered at record-breaking distance

August 31, 2016 by Megan Watzke, Chandra X-ray Center
This cluster, called CL J1001+0220, lies about 11.1 billion light years from Earth. Credit: Chandra X-ray Center

A new record for the most distant galaxy cluster has been set using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. This galaxy cluster may have been caught right after birth, a brief, but important stage of evolution never seen before.

The galaxy cluster is called CL J1001+0220 (CL J1001 for short) and is located about 11.1 billion light years from Earth. The discovery of this object pushes back the formation time of galaxy clusters -the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity - by about 700 million years.

"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," said Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) who led the study.

The core of CL J1001 contains eleven massive - nine of which are experiencing an impressive baby boom of stars. Specifically, stars are forming in the cluster's core at a rate that is equivalent to over 3,000 Suns forming per year, a remarkably high value for a galaxy cluster, including those that are almost as distant, and therefore as young, as CL J1001.

The diffuse X-ray emission detected by Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory comes from a large amount of hot gas, one of the defining features of a true galaxy cluster.

"It appears that we have captured this galaxy cluster at a critical stage just as it has shifted from a loose collection of galaxies into a young, but fully formed galaxy cluster," said co-author David Elbaz from CEA.

Previously, only these loose collections of galaxies, known as protoclusters, had been seen at greater distances than CL J1001.

The results suggest that in like CL J1001 may form their stars during shorter and more violent outbursts than elliptical galaxies that are outside clusters. Also, this discovery suggests that much of the star formation in these galaxies happens after the galaxies fall onto the cluster, not before.

In comparing their results to computer simulations of the formation of clusters performed by other scientists, the team of astronomers found that CL J1001 has an unexpectedly high amount of mass in stars compared to the 's total mass. This may show that the build-up of stars is more rapid in distant clusters than simulations imply, or it may show that clusters like CL J1001 are so rare that they are not found in today's largest cosmological simulations.

"We think we're going to learn a lot about the formation of clusters and the galaxies they contain by studying this object," said co-author Alexis Finoguenov of the University of Helsinki in Finland, "and we're going to be searching hard for other examples."

The result is based on data from a large group of observatories in space and on the ground including Chandra, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, ESA's XMM-Newton and Herschel Space Observatory, the NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique Northern Extended Millimeter Array (IRAM NOEMA), and ESO's Very Large Telescope.

A paper describing these results will appear in The Astrophysical Journal on August 30th and is available online. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

Explore further: Cosmic neighbors inhibit star formation, even in the early-universe

More information: arxiv.org/abs/1604.07404

Related Stories

Image: Hubble looks into a cosmic kaleidoscope

March 28, 2016

At first glance, this cosmic kaleidoscope of purple, blue and pink offers a strikingly beautiful—and serene—snapshot of the cosmos. However, this multi-colored haze actually marks the site of two colliding galaxy clusters, ...

Chandra finds remarkable galactic ribbon unfurled

December 22, 2015

An extraordinary ribbon of hot gas trailing behind a galaxy like a tail has been discovered using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This ribbon, or X-ray tail, is likely due to gas stripped from the galaxy as it ...

Image: A Hubble sky full of stars

August 8, 2016

Located approximately 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Musca (The Fly), this tightly packed collection of stars—known as a globular cluster—goes by the name of NGC 4833. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope ...

Recommended for you

Lyman-alpha emission detected around quasar J1605-0112

February 20, 2018

Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument astronomers have discovered an extended and broad Lyman-alpha emission in the form of a nebula around the quasar J1605-0112. The finding is reported February 9 ...

'Ultramassive' black holes discovered in far-off galaxies

February 20, 2018

Thanks to data collected by NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope on galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away from Earth, an international team of astrophysicists has detected what are likely to be the most massive black holes ...

23 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tuxford
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 31, 2016
Previously, only these loose collections of galaxies, known as protoclusters, had been seen at greater distances than CL J1001.

Oops. Say it ain't so!
Tuxford
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 31, 2016
"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," said Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) who led the study.
The core of CL J1001 contains eleven massive galaxies - nine of which are experiencing an impressive baby boom of stars.

Come on maniacs, stand up for your fantasy. Say it ain't so! Deny, deny, deny...explain, explain, explain. You can do it. Come on!

For example, 'hey back then, anything was possible'. 'Like faster than light expansion of space itself.' See, not so hard. Come on!
RNP
3.9 / 5 (14) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
Your lack of knowledge of this subject makes your posts look silly. Your ranting only makes them look even sillier.
Phys1
4.3 / 5 (12) Sep 01, 2016
Silly is not the appropriate word, totally insane is closer to reality.
Everybody that Tuxford _suspects_ to disagree with his blurry vision is declared a "maniac".
Why do they let such people out ?
Tuxford
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 01, 2016
Ah, the local back-slapping science police got nothing? So they resort to personal attacks. Pathetic.

Early galaxies just as big as today?
http://phys.org/n...ive.html

http://phys.org/n...rse.html

Bigger, redder bulges are red since light is red-shifted by climbing out of a gravity well.
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv

Not dusty? So how did those massive galaxies form to early?
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv

RNP
3.2 / 5 (9) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
Early galaxies just as big as today?
http://phys.org/n...ive.html


If you read the article the authors explains this observation. What is wrong with their explanation?

[q/]Bigger, redder bulges are red since light is red-shifted by climbing out of a gravity well.
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv

You have COMPLETELY misread this one. The redness has nothing to do with redshift. It is age, metallicity and sometimes dust reddening that cause red bulges. Gravitational redshift effects are almost completely negligible.

Not dusty? So how did those massive galaxies form to early?
http://phys.org/n...tml#nRlv


So there are refinements needed to the models. We know that. What is your point?
Tuxford
2.1 / 5 (7) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
Early galaxies just as big as today?
http://phys.org/n...ive.html


So there are refinements needed to the models. We know that. What is your point?

My point is that merger maniacs don't consider that current models could be wrong. I don't accept that redness is entirely due to metallicity. That the larger bulges are often more red is due in substantial part due to property of nature that red-shift is due in part also to light climbing out of a gravity well. So the bigger bulges have more mass and thus deeper gravity wells, causing more reddening. That makes most of those really big quasars and AGN's seem so distant. It is mis-interpretation of data that confines the minds of merger maniacs to fantasyland.
Benni
2 / 5 (8) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
Your lack of knowledge of this subject makes your posts look silly. Your ranting only makes them look even sillier.


You didn't display any knowledge of this subject yourself, that makes this post of yours a COUNTER-RANT. Your counter-ranting only makes you look even sillier because it didn't address the subject matter.
RNP
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
I don't accept that redness is entirely due to metallicity. That the larger bulges are often more red is due in substantial part due to property of nature that red-shift is due in part also to light climbing out of a gravity well. So the bigger bulges have more mass and thus deeper gravity wells, causing more reddening. That makes most of those really big quasars and AGN's seem so distant. It is mis-interpretation of data that confines the minds of merger maniacs to fantasyland.


You are really off the mark here. The gravitational redshift due to light leaving a even a whole galaxy CLUSTER is almost insignificant! (see http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.5262 where they show for a typical galaxy it is ~11 km/sec or a redshift of 0.0004, i.e. miniscule.)
RNP
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 01, 2016
@Benni
It was impossible to address the "subject matter" in the two posts from Tuxford to which I was responding, as they did not contain any.
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
RNP
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2016
@tinitus
I do not really understand your post, but just let me say that galaxies do not form JUST by mergers. They also accrete material (stars and gas) from the space around them. They also use their content gas to form stars "in situ", indeed this is how they start to form in the first place. There are also some processes that can STRIP stars from galaxies, making them smaller. So, all I can say is: beware of simplistic models of galaxies evolution.
RNP
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 01, 2016
@tinitus
............We discussed here at least four astronomy observations this week (1, 2, 3, 4, ...) - and neither one supports the Big Bang cosmology well.


As has repeatedly been pointed out to you, none of them are in conflict with Big Bang cosmology (except it seems in your imagination).
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2016
BTW Is it just me, or the proponents of Big Bang cosmology had a difficult week? We discussed here at least four astronomy observations this week (http://phys.org/n...on.html, ...) - and neither one supports the Big Bang cosmology well.

Indeed, they have, but as you later point out, they are so specialized that they can't recognized their own mania.

In fact, they have had a bad few years. But since the news is spread out over time, they can ignore or explain away any individual inconvenient news. Thus, the cumulative evidence gets ignored.
RNP
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 01, 2016
@tinitus
..What the scientists are thinking about?..................


The articles presented in this forum report new and interesting scientific findings. In mainstream science such findings are used to refine and, if necessary change the model/theory.

You, on the other hand, assume that each of these new discoveries INVALIDATE the whole of said models/theories. This is simply WRONG, as you would appreciate if you learned more about the subject and the scientific method.
RNP
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2016
@Tuxford
BTW Is it just me, or the proponents of Big Bang cosmology had a difficult week? We discussed here at least four astronomy observations this week (http://phys.org/n...on.html, ...) - and neither one supports the Big Bang cosmology well.

Indeed, they have, but as you later point out, they are so specialized that they can't recognized their own mania.

In fact, they have had a bad few years. But since the news is spread out over time, they can ignore or explain away any individual inconvenient news. Thus, the cumulative evidence gets ignored.


I refer you to my response to tinitus as you suffer from similar delusions.
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
RNP
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 01, 2016
are used to refine and, if necessary change the model/theory
It's like to say, every new finding of planet refined and improved the epicycle model a bit. But in reality these findings gradually made it useless. But the proponents of mainstream religion will never learn from their past.


Again, I refer you to my response to tinitus as you suffer from similar delusions.
tinitus
Sep 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Sep 06, 2016
Post totals for this thread:

Tuxford: posts=5; 1.8 / 5 (33)
RNP: posts=9; 4.8 / 5 (46)
Phys1: posts=1; 4.2 / 5 (10)
Benni: posts=1; 2.3 / 5 (6)
tinitus: posts=6; 2.3 / 5 (18)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.