astronomy.  Scientists monitor the formation of galaxy cluster MRC 1138-262, also known as the Spiderweb – ALMA

With the help of the ALMA array of radio telescopes, scientists have discovered a reservoir of hot gas in the still-forming galaxy cluster around the Spiderweb galaxy. This is the furthest from detecting such hot gas, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) reports.

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Galaxy clusters are groups of galaxies that sometimes contain thousands of such objects. Outside the galaxies, there may be gas permeating the intergalactic space in the cluster.

In English it is called “intracluster media”, abbreviated as ICM, which can be translated as intracluster center. The mass of this gas can greatly exceed the mass of galaxies.

To date, ICM has only been studied in fully formed close cohorts galaxies. But this time, it was possible to do this for a very distant group of galaxies, in fact a protocluster, that is, for the stage in which the cluster was just forming.

Cosmological simulations have predicted the presence of hot gas in primary clusters for more than a decade, but monitoring confirmation was lacking. The pursuit of such significant observable confirmation led us to select one of the most promising primary cluster candidates, explains Elena Rascia of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) in Trieste, Italy, and study co-author.

The specific object for the study is the circumstellar cluster MRC 1138-262, also known as the Spiderweb. It is so far away from us that we see it when the universe was only 3 billion years old.



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A huge cluster of galaxy clusters

Galaxy clusters are so massive that they cause gas to accumulate, which heats up and rains down on the cluster. So far, no such gas has been detected in the Spiderweb cluster, and only now has it been discovered — with the help of what’s called the Sunyaev-Zeldowicz convection effect.

This effect occurs when light from cosmic background radiation (the remnants of the Big Bang) passes through the hot gas medium in the ICM. Light interacts with fast moving electrons and gains some energy.

Its color or wavelength is slightly different. In this way, it is possible to analyze the shadow effects of a galactic cluster against the cosmic background radiation and to understand the properties of the hot gas.

It has been proven that in the primary spider cluster there is a reservoir of hot gas with a temperature of tens of millions of degrees Celsius. Previous studies revealed the presence of cold gas, but the mass of hot gas is thousands of times greater. Scientists believe that within 10 billion years, the initial mass of the neck will increase at least 10 times It will become a huge cluster of galaxies.

The results of the research were published in the journal Nature. The team of scientists was led by Luca Di Mascolo of the University of Trieste in Italy.

The ALMA radio telescope network consists of 66 mm and submillimeter wave antennas located on the Chagnantor Plateau in northern Chile. Europe is represented in this project by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), of which Poland is a member.



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