July 2, 2022
Since the beginning of the universe, a cluster of protogalaxies produces a thousand "suns" a year

Since the beginning of the universe, a cluster of protogalaxies produces a thousand “suns” a year

An 11-billion-year-old structure, observed in January of this year with some hypotheses about its nature, has been confirmed by an international team of astronomers. It is an initial set of galaxies, any object under development to become a supercluster of galaxies.

The researchers observed G237 for the first time through far-infrared observations using the European Space Agency (ESA’s) Planck telescope. To confirm the initial study, the Big Eyed Telescope in Arizona and the Subaru Telescope in Japan were to be used, as well as data from the Herschel Space Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope.

Some of the things that were noticed at first piqued the interest of scientists. For example, the rate of star formation in the protocluster was much higher than expected, at 10,000 times the rate of formation of the Milky Way. All 63 galaxies discovered so far in this structure looked like an “overtime star-gathering” factory. The scenario was unsustainable given the amount of hydrogen in the area.

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(Photo: Reproduction / ESA / Herschel / XMM-Newton / NASA / Spitzer / NAOJ / Subaru / Large Binocular Telescope / ESO / VISTA / Polita / Koyama)

After subsequent observations, the researchers found that a portion of this extrapolated star production came from galaxies unrelated to G237. However, until all activity that was not part of the initial mass was removed, stellar production remained high, at 1,000 solar masses per year. Scientists concluded that this structure was extracting the necessary hydrogen from the filaments – the filaments of gas that bind galaxies together to form the cosmic web. G237 and other proto-groups like it will arise where the threads intersect.

Studies on the object have not yet been completed. “We are in the process of analyzing further observations of this and other proto-clusters with the goal of tracing the gas that gives rise to these newly formed stars and feeds supermassive black holes, to determine its source and to explain the observed extraordinary activity.” Marie Poletta of the National Institute of Astrophysics in Milan, Italy, lead author of the article – Published in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Source: University of Arizona

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