Cosmic Mashup! Creation of the Largest Object in the Universe

The most awesome collision of galaxy clusters yet discovered has been identified by combining information from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Astronomers were able to determine the three-dimensional geometry and motion in the system MACSJ0717 located about 5.4 billion light years from Earth and found that four separate galaxy clusters are involved in a triple merger, the first time such a phenomenon has been documented. Galaxy clusters are the largest objects bound by gravity in the universe. A 13-million-light-year-long stream of galaxies, gas and dark matter — known as a filament — is pouring into a region already full of galaxies.


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