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NASA Discovers Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster

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This image contains the most distant galaxy cluster, a discovery made using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other telescopes. The galaxy cluster, known as CL J1001+0220, is located about 11.1 billion light years from Earth and may have been caught right after birth, a brief, but important stage of cluster evolution never seen before. (NASA)
This image contains the most distant galaxy cluster, a discovery made using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other telescopes. The galaxy cluster, known as CL J1001+0220, is located about 11.1 billion light years from Earth and may have been caught right after birth; a brief, but important, stage of cluster evolution never seen before. (NASA)

NASA just discovered a galaxy cluster so far away from Earth that it set a new distance record for such discoveries.

Named CL J1001, the cluster is 11.1 billion light-years from Earth, and was found through multiple observations from space telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The cluster’s core is made of eleven massive galaxies, nine of which are birthing stars at a rate equivalent to over 3,000 Suns forming per year.

This, more than its distance from Earth, is what makes this discovery so impressive. Tao Wang, a representative of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission who led the investigation of this discovery, said that “this galaxy cluster… [is] going through an amazing growth spurt unlike any we’ve ever seen.” In fact, the evidence suggests that CL J1001 was discovered shortly after its birth, and its discovery captures a stage of evolution we’ve never seen before.

Wang’s co-author Alexis Finoguenov agrees, saying that “we think we’re going to learn a lot about the formation of clusters and the galaxies they contain by studying this object.”

Read NASA’s official statement here.