A team of Indian astronomers has discovered an extremely large supercluster of galaxies – as big as 20 million billion suns – which they have named Saraswati, Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has said.
This is one of the largest known structures in the neighbourhood of the universe, 4,000 million light-years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old, IUCAA said.
Its mass extends over the scale of 600 million light years, it said.
Scientists of this institute were also involved in the path-breaking discovery of gravitational waves last year.
The supercluster was discovered by Joydeep Bagchi, a faculty member from IUCCA; Shishir Sankhyayan, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune; Prakash Sarkar of the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur; Somak Raychaudhury, Director IUCAA; Joe Jacob of the Newman College, Kerala and Pratik Dabhade, IUCAA research fellow.
Their findings were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society.
“Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web. They are a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies,” the IUCAA said in a statement.
Sankhyayan said this “newly-discovered Saraswati supercluster” extends over a scale of 600 million light-years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.
A cluster could roughly have galaxies ranging from 1000 to…