Astronomers in Chile detect largest galaxy cluster ever registered

Federico Mansilla
Octubre 19, 2018

The huge object, dubbed Hyperion, is a proto-supercluster of galaxies that formed just 2.3 billion years after the Big Bang, when the universe was still young.

The universe is packed with clusters and superclusters of galaxies that can hold hundreds to thousands of individual galaxies. Astronomers are referring to it as a proto-supercluster as they're still in infancy.

An global team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has uncovered a colossal structure in the early universe.

Hyperion is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance.

Nicknamed Hyperion, the newly-discovered proto-supercluster is the largest and most massive structure to be found so early in the formation of the Universe.

Hyperion has a mass one million billion times greater than the sun and is so distant that it is viewed from earth as it looked billions of years ago.

While estimates put the number of superclusters in the visible Universe at over 10 million, none have been spotted even half as far as Hyperion. This galaxy proto-supercluster - which they nickname Hyperion - was unveiled by new measurements and a complex examination of archive data. But over time, some regions began to collect, or accrete, matter from their surroundings.

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Lead author Olga Cucciati said, 'This is the first time that such a large structure has been identified at such a high redshift, just over 2 billion years after the Big Bang. "It's as though we were able to look at the adolescence of an 80-year-old human being".

Though the team of astronomers can't say for certain how many galaxies are contained in the proto-supercluster, it's a lot. "It's very huge", Cucciati said.

The unfortunate thing is we could see only a small fraction of the galaxies in any cluster, supercluster or proto-cluster.

'It was a surprise to see something this evolved when the Universe was relatively young'.

So the mass that they calculated also includes dark matter. It makes 68 per cent of the universe, with dark energy at about 27 per cent.

"You can fine-tune in cosmological models the total amount of dark matter".

"These are galaxies very far from us, nearly at the beginning of the universe, and allow us to understand better how the universe evolved from the Big Bang until the present day". This discovery is important because it helps cosmologists the early stages of our universe better.

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