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Astronomers identify ‘Saraswati’ galactic supercluster

The newly surveyed Saraswati superstructure stretches more than 600 million light-years across and features a mass of 20 million billion suns. Photo by Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics

A team of astronomers has found one of the largest superstructures in the universe about four billion light-years from Earth.

According to UPI, the enormous galaxy cluster called Saraswati measures over 600 million light-years across and has a mass of about 20 million billion suns.

The research was conducted by a team of astronomers from Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA), and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), both in Pune, India, along with two other Indian universities.

”We were very surprised to spot this giant wall-like supercluster of galaxies, visible in a large spectroscopic survey of distant galaxies, known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” study authors Joydeep Bagchi from IUCAA and Shishir Sankhyayan from IISER said in a statement. “This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids.”

The vast collection of galaxies is located in the direction of the constellation Pisces.  Astronomers estimate that the supercluster formed when the universe was about ten billion years old.

The age and size of Sarawati suggest that forces beyond the gravitational effects of visible matter were at play when the superstructure formed.  The influence of dark energy could explain how the cluster formed and held together.

“Our work will help to shed light on the perplexing question; how such extreme large scale, prominent matter-density enhancements had formed billions of years in the past when the mysterious Dark Energy had just started to dominate structure formation,’’ Bagchi and Sankhyayan said.

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Kathy Fey

Kathy Fey

Staff Writer
Kathy Fey is a freelance writer with a creative writing degree from Mount Holyoke College. She is an active blogger and erstwhile facilitator of science and engineering programs for children.
About Kathy Fey (673 Articles)
Kathy Fey is a freelance writer with a creative writing degree from Mount Holyoke College. She is an active blogger and erstwhile facilitator of science and engineering programs for children.