A Fresh Perspective on an Extraordinary Cluster of Galaxies: Galaxy clusters are huge conglomerations of galaxies, hot gas, and dark matter and represent the largest structures in the universe held together by gravity. The Phoenix Cluster, pictured here, has shattered multiple records in the past: In 2012, scientists announced that the Phoenix cluster featured the highest rate of cooling hot gas and star formation ever seen in the center of a galaxy cluster, and is the most powerful producer of X-rays of all known clusters. The rate at which hot gas is cooling in the center of the cluster is also the largest ever observed. New observations of this galaxy cluster are helping astronomers better understand this remarkable object. Data reveal narrow filaments from the center of the cluster where stars are forming. These massive cosmic threads of gas and dust, most of which had never been detected before, extend for 160,000 to 330,000 lights years. This is longer than the entire breadth of the Milky Way galaxy, making them the most extensive filaments ever seen in a galaxy cluster.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/M. McDonald et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
#nasa #space #hubble #chandra #nasabeyond #galaxy #stars #milkyway #science