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News Release 42 of 1040

September 10, 2015 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2015-32

NASA Telescopes Find Galaxy Cluster with Vibrant Heart

September 10, 2015: Astronomers have discovered a rare beast of a galaxy cluster whose heart is bursting with new stars. The unexpected find, made with the help of NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, suggests that behemoth galaxies at the cores of these massive clusters can grow significantly by feeding on gas stolen from other galaxies. The cluster in the new study, referred to by astronomers as SpARCS1049+56, has at least 27 galaxy members, and a combined mass equal to nearly 400 trillion suns. It is located 9.8 billion light-years away in the Ursa Major constellation. The object was initially discovered using Spitzer and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, and confirmed using the W. M. Keck Observatory. Hubble helped confirm the source of the fuel for the new stars.

To learn more about the behavior of massive galaxy clusters, join the discussion with the scientists during the live Hubble Hangout at 3pm EDT today (Thurs., Sept. 10) at http://hbbl.us/z7P .

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Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, JPL-Caltech, and T. Webb (McGill University)