A picture of cluster MS1054-0321, containing thousands of galaxies. The picture is comprised of pictures taken by three different telescopes.
Click on image for full size
HST: Megan Donahue (STSCI); ground: Isabella Gioia (University of Hawaii), and NASA.
Hot, Heavyweight Cluster Found!
News story originally written on August 20, 1998
Megan Donahue, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute, has discovered one of the heaviest and hottest galaxy clusters. Cluster MS1054-0321, located 8 billion light-years from Earth, contains thousands of galaxies
and trillions of stars
! The temperature of its intergalactic gas (the material between galaxies) is about 300 million degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine finding this during your normal work day!
What Donahue and colleagues have found is that this cluster is surprisingly massive; it is a heavyweight of clusters. Now remember, by looking so far away, these astronomers are looking back in time.
In this traditional view of the universe, either space holds just enough matter to be able to expand forever or the universe is a dense universe and it will collapse under its own weight into a reverse Big Bang. According to dense universe theories, massive clusters such as MS1054-0321 should not have had time to form this way yet (ie, this cluster should not be so massive according to the dense universe theory). So the conclusion that these astronomers are making is that the universe is not a dense universe, or it is not dense enough to stop its own expansion. This discovery becomes another piece of evidence supporting the eternal universe.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
During the early 1900's, which is not very long ago, astronomers were unaware that there were other galaxies outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. When they saw a small fuzzy patch in the sky through their...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more