In this picture you can see the area where the old and the galactic structure has been found. The blue shading indicates the area it belongs to. The red objects in the zoomed-in bit of the 12 galaxies. (Credit: NAOJ/Harikane, et al.)
Astronomers have discovered the oldest galaxy cluster of galaxies ever seen, dating back to the early universe.
The discovery, which may help to explain the shape of the modern universe, revealing the 12 galaxies that existed in a group of 13 billion years ago — just 700 million years after the Big Bang. We’re seeing them now because they are so far away, in the expanding universe (13 billion light-years away), that their river is now on its way to the Ground. One of the systems, and a mammoth named Himiko, after a mythical Japanese queen, was discovered ten years ago by the same team.
Surprisingly, of the 11 galaxies were not clustered around the giant Chemical, the researchers wrote in a document that will be published at the end of September. 30, in The Astrophysical Journal and is available as a draft on the website arXiv. Instead, this Chemical is situated on the outskirts of the system, which the researchers call a “protocluster,” since it is so small and old compared to most of the galaxy clusters that we see in the universe.
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“It’s a good way to search for a protocluster in the vicinity of a massive object, such as a Chemical. However, we were surprised to see that the Chemical was not in the center of the protocluster, but on the edge of the 500-million-light-year-distance from the city center,” Masami Ouchi, a co-author of the paper and an astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan the University of Tokyo, said in a statement.
To understand how the clusters were found to be important for the understanding of the galaxies that contain them. Most of the galaxies, including the Milky way, show up in clusters with other galaxies, so the galaxies are not evenly distributed across the entire universe. And clustering seems to be an influence on their behavior, the astronomers said. Galaxies in high-density, clumped environments, full of galaxies, which form stars at different ways of doing so than galaxies in low-density environments that are empty of galaxies. The impact of the clustering appears to have changed over time, the researchers said.
In more recent times, the researchers wrote in the paper: “there is a clear trend that the star formation activity of these galaxies has a tendency to be lower in high density than low-density areas.”
So, it clumped up into galaxies, these days, are the stars and are less likely than their more independent cousins, nieces, nephews are doing. It was as if they were aging faster, in their groups, the researchers said, still nursing, and giving up on creating new stars.
However, in the old universe, and the trend seems to be reversed. The galaxies in the highly-packed clusters are formed in stars, is faster, and not slower, is still young and sure of themselves in relation to their nephews and nieces, not in dense clusters.
Still, “protoclusters” for example, in the early ages of the universe and are rarely found and are poorly understood, the researchers wrote. These woods tend to be much smaller than that of the modern samples, which may consist of hundreds of galaxies.
It’s further back than that of telescopes to peer at the time, the lower the protoclusters off. It is also possible that many of them have simply been obscured by intergalactic dust. The astronomers are hoping for, they said, is that the new discovery will help to flesh out the picture, and explain to them what the state of affairs of the 13 + billion years ago and transformed, over time, to produce a clustered universe that we see today.
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Originally published on Live Science.