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The giant galaxy that comes from the cold.



The observation of a galactic cluster distant from us 10 billion light years, revealed that the huge canvas Galaxy spider that is located at its center is condensing directly from a cloud of gas at very low temperatures, in which galaxies are immersed smaller. Galaxies often congregate by the hundreds of thousands, forming a cluster, the center of which are the most massive galaxies in the universe. So far, in the astronomical community was widespread belief that these super-galaxies were formed from the merger of several smaller galaxies, which collapsed under the influence of its own gravity.

The model was refined now from an article published in the journal “Science” by an international team of astronomers led by Bjorn Emonts of the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain, who observed a mass embryonic distant from us 10 billion light years with the Very Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the United States, New Mexico, and with the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

The cluster that, given the distance, we see as it was when the universe was just a few billion years, hosts at its core a giant galaxy, called Canvas spider. The observations indicate that this super-galaxy is forming from the merger of galaxies that “float” in a cosmic cloud of gas, consisting mainly of hydrogen molecules, the basic material of stars and galaxies. The cloud has a mass of about 100 billion solar masses and is an approximately -200 degrees Celsius. It was shocking to see this cloud so cold, because we expected to see a huge number of galaxies to collapse and heat the gas. So we thought that all the cold gas would be trapped well deep within galaxies. But the watchful eye of the Very Large Array revealed that most of the cold gas is not in small galaxies. The Australia Telescope Compact Array, on the other hand, clearly showed the cosmic gas cloud that engulfs. In addition, earlier work by another research group had found that the spider Canvas billion young stars have mysteriously lit, a sign of formation of stars outside of galaxies. So now astronomers found this super-galaxy is by condensing directly from the cloud of cold gas. The amazing thing is that the gas extends over very large scales, about 230,000 years light, but it does not seem associated with individual small galaxies that make up the cluster. Also the speed of the gas and that of the galaxies are very different between them and this confirms that they are two separate components. Astronomers have not directly observed hydrogen, but they located by tracing the carbon monoxide, a “tracer” much easier to detect.

The carbon monoxide, which we detected is a waste product of earlier stars, a form of cosmic recycling, but we can not say with certainty where it came from or how the gas is accumulated in the storage core. To find out, we should look more deeply into the history of the universe.

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To open the video click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.