Student discovers cluster of galaxies formed in early universe

(ORDO NEWS) — While developing new software to automatically detect distant galaxy clusters, Nicolai Cillassen, a DTU Space undergraduate and member of the Center for Cosmic Aurora (DAWN), found a new cluster dubbed HPC1001.

It consists of ten galaxies that were formed 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only 1.7 billion years old.

While some galaxies are engaged in active star formation, others quite suddenly stop creating new stars. One of the key goals of DAWN is to study the properties of this phase, so HPC1001 for scientists is a kind of treasure chest.

“It is noteworthy that the most massive galaxy in this structure is dying—its star-forming activity is decreasing,” says Georgios Magdis, DAWN associate professor and study participant.

“This is an important indicator of the evolution of massive structures, and if all is confirmed, HPC1001 will be the earliest discovered structure in the maturation phase.”

Further observations will be made with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile and the Northern Extended Millimeter Array in France, among other instruments.

Scientists hope to study the nature of this structure and find out whether HPC1001 will remain a small group of galaxies or evolve into a massive cluster.


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