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NASA: Farthest Galaxy Cluster Discovered in Record-Breaking Distance

Sep 01, 2016 04:43 AM EDT

The universe has once again proven its vastness as NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory set a new record for the farthest galaxy cluster to be observed. The most distant giant cluster was discovered right after its formation, a very important stage of evolution that scientists and astronomers haven't seen before.

At 11.1 billion light-years away from Earth, the new galaxy cluster is called CL J1001+0220 or CL J1001. "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," Tao Wang, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Based on the study, it is discovered that the galaxy cluster is made up of 11 massive galaxies, nine of which are considered stellar nurseries with more than 3,000 stars forming each year. This is the farthest galaxy cluster to be observed by astronomers, and it's providing insights about the stages of evolution that men haven't observed before. This information pushed back the recently known data about galaxy clusters to 700 million years.

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory made the discovery possible with the help of ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory and other supporting telescopes. The equipment detected X-ray emissions from the galaxies that led to the discovery of the cluster.

Experts agree that the discovery of the galaxy cluster is not only significant to the understanding of the universe, but it also happened at the right time. "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," co-author David Elbaz said in a statement published by Daily Mail.

With the discovery of the galaxy cluster, new information about the formation and evolution will be added to science's existing knowledge about the universe.


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