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Image of the Day: Pandora's Cluster --The Most Colossal Known Galaxy Mashup

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    URL to an interesting photo from The Daily Galaxy _http://tinyurl.com/72nz9ls_ (http://tinyurl.com/72nz9ls) Makes us realize that we live in a really BIG
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2012
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      URL to an interesting photo from The Daily Galaxy
      _http://tinyurl.com/72nz9ls_ (http://tinyurl.com/72nz9ls)

      Makes us realize that we live in a really BIG universe.

      "This is the most colossal known smash-up observed in the universe. This
      awesome bundle of galaxies, nicknamed Pandora's cluster, turns out to be the
      result of a violent mashup between at least four separate galaxy clusters
      that occured over hundreds of millions of years.




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      The cluster's official name is Abell 2744. Using various telescopes
      including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's
      Very Large Telescope in Chile, astronomers have mapped all of its
      ingredients and pieced together its violent history.
      The image suggests that several galaxy clusters have collided over about
      350 million years, with right visible galaxies make up 5 per cent of the
      mass, while searingly hot gas that glows in X-rays makes up 20 per cent. The
      rest is the invisible x-factor, dark matter, a mysterious force that reveals
      itself away only because its gravity bends light from background galaxies.
      "The complicated and uneven distribution of the different types of matter
      is extremely unusual and fascinating," says Dan Coe from the Space Telescope
      Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, one of the study leaders.
      The bright "bullet" near the cluster's core marks where gas from two
      clusters has collided to create a shock wave. Dense dark matter appears to
      congregate in one outer part of the cluster that's devoid of any galaxies or gas.
      Meanwhile, a lone ghostly gas clump has mysteriously detached itself and
      "sailed" ahead of its associated dark matter, a surprising observation that
      might clarify how dark matter and normal matter interact.




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