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 many trillions of stars
! The temperature of its intergalactic gas (the material between galaxies) is approximately 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 seeing this cluster as it was when the universe was half the age it is now.
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.
You might also be interested in:
The introduction of telescopes to the study of astronomy opened up the universe, but it took some time for astronomers to realize how vast the universe could be. Telescopes revealed that our night sky...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 at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...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 are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more