Galaxy cluster IDCS J1426

Esahubble_opo1602a_500

esahubble_opo1602a January 8th, 2016

Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Brodwin (University of Missouri)

Astronomers have made the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster using three space telescopes. This multi-wavelength image shows this galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), in X-rays from the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, visible light from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in green, and infrared light from the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope in red. This rare galaxy cluster, which is located 10 billion light-years from Earth, weighs almost 500 trillion suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these megastructures formed and evolved early in the Universe. Astronomers have observed IDCS 1426 when the Universe was less than a third of its current age. It is the most massive galaxy cluster detected at such an early age. First discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2012, IDCS 1426 was then observed using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory to determine its distance. Observations from the Combined Array for Millimeter Wave Astronomy indicated it was extremely massive. New data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory confirm the galaxy cluster mass and show that about 90 percent of the mass of the cluster is in the form of dark matter, the mysterious substance that has so far been detected only through its gravitational pull on normal matter composed of atoms. There is a region of bright X-ray emission (seen as blue-white) near the middle of the cluster, but not exactly at the center. The location of this "core" of gas suggests that the cluster has had a collision or interaction with another massive system of galaxies relatively recently, perhaps within about the last 500 million years. This would cause the core to "slosh" around like wine in a moving glass and become offset as it appears to be in the Chandra data. Such a merger would not be surprising, given that astronomers are observing IDCS 1426 when the universe was only 3.8 billion years old. So that an enormous structure can form so rapidly, scientists think mergers with smaller clusters would likely play a role in a large cluster's growth. This core, while still extremely hot, contains cooler gas than its surroundings. This is the most distant galaxy cluster where such a "cool core" of gas has been observed. Astronomers think these cool cores are important in understanding how quickly hot gas cools off in clusters, influencing the rate of stars at which stars are born. This cooling rate can be slowed down by outbursts from a supermassive black hole in the centre of the cluster. Apart from the cool core, the hot gas in the cluster is remarkably symmetrical and smooth. This is another piece of evidence that IDCS 1426 formed very rapidly and quickly in the early Universe. Despite the high mass and rapid evolution of this cluster, its existence does not pose a threat to the standard model of cosmology. These results were presented at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Florida. Link: NASA Press release

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo1602a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
IDCS J1426.5+3508
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy » Grouping » Cluster

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_ Spitzer Space Telescope (None) Infrared 606.0 nm
Arrow_left_ Chandra (None) X-ray 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_ Hubble Space Telescope (WFC3) Infrared (H) 1.6 µm
Arrow_left_ Hubble Space Telescope (ACS) Infrared (I) -
Arrow_left_ Hubble Space Telescope (ACS) Optical (V) -
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_
Arrow_top_
Arrow_top_
Esahubble_opo1602a_1280
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ID
opo1602a
Subject Category
D.5.5.3  
Subject Name
IDCS J1426.5+3508
Credits
NASA, ESA, and M. Brodwin (University of Missouri)
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo1602a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Spitzer Space Telescope, Chandra, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
None, None, WFC3, ACS, ACS
Color Assignment
Band
Infrared, X-ray, Infrared, Infrared, Optical
Bandpass
-, -, H, I, V
Central Wavelength
606, 814, 1600
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
1719.0, 1718.0
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
opo1602a
Metadata Date
2016-08-05T00:56:07.700395
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.