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News Release 32 of 1044

January 7, 2016 02:15 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-02

NASA's Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

January 7, 2016: Astronomers have made the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster using three of NASA's Great Observatories. This multiwavelength image shows this galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), in X-rays recorded by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, visible light observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in green, and infrared light from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red.

This rare galaxy cluster, which is located 10 billion light-years from Earth, is almost as massive as 500 trillion suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these megastructures formed and evolved early in the universe. Astronomers have observed IDCS 1426 when the universe was less than a third of its current age. It is the most massive galaxy cluster detected at such an early age.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Brodwin (University of Missouri)