El Gordo Galaxy Cluster Even Bigger Than Thought

by Elizabeth Howell on April 4, 2014

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Hubble Space Telescope image of the El Gordo galaxy cluster. Credit:  NASA, ESA, and J. Jee (University of California, Davis)

Hubble Space Telescope image of the El Gordo galaxy cluster. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Jee (University of California, Davis)

The Hubble Space Telescope has a new calculation for the huge El Gordo galaxy cluster: 3 million billion times the mass of the Sun. This is even 43 per cent more massive than past estimates that examined the complex in X-rays, NASA stated.

“A fraction of this mass is locked up in several hundred galaxies that inhabit the cluster and a larger fraction is in hot gas that fills the entire volume of the cluster. The rest is tied up in dark matter, an invisible form of matter that makes up the bulk of the mass of the universe,” the Space Telescope Science Institute stated.

“Though galaxy clusters as massive are found in the nearby universe, such as the so-called Bullet Cluster, nothing like this has ever been seen to exist so far back in time, when the universe was roughly half of its current age of 13.8 billion years. The team suspects such monsters are rare in the early universe, based on current cosmological models.”

Read more about the discovery in this Hubble press release.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Aqua4U April 4, 2014 at 7:51 PM

oTay…. I’ll bite. Where is this ‘El Gordo’ galaxy cluster? What constellation and magnitude is it? Is it visible in amateur scopes?

jc hanford April 5, 2014 at 8:21 AM

This galaxy cluster is in the southern constellation Phoenix at 1h 02m 53s -49d 15m 19s (NED coordinates). As for visibility, the brightest galaxy in the cluster shines at magnitude 19 (i-band or NIR mag) and most identified members are between magnitude 21-23 (again i-band mag). So probably not visible in even the largest backyard ‘scopes and likely quite a challenge to image using amateur CCD equipment/scopes.

Aqua4U April 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Thanks Jon…

TopTaciturn April 7, 2014 at 11:33 PM

#El_Gordo @UniverseToday Soon you’ll be hearing of MORE similar finds of “El Gordo” which will be renamed “El Gordotote.”

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