A glimpse back in time to the dawn of the Uni­verse re­veals a mas­sive proto-su­per­clus­ter that could give us clues about how our own Virgo su­per­clus­ter evolved

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS - VERY LARGE TELE­SCOPE, 17 OC­TO­BER 2018

Be­cause light takes time to travel across space, as­tronomers can ef­fec­tively look back in time by ob­serv­ing ever deeper into the cos­mos to see ob­jects as they ex­isted in the Uni­verse’s in­fancy. Hype­r­ion – the ob­ject seen here – ap­pears as it did about 12 bil­lion years ago, two bil­lion years after the Big Bang.

This ob­ject is known as a galaxy proto su­per clus­ter and is the largest and most mas­sive struc­ture ever ob­served so dis­tant and early in the his­tory of the Uni­verse. It con­sists of gal­ax­ies held to­gether in a clus­ter, form­ing an ob­ject whose mass is equal to over one mil­lion bil­lion times that of our Sun.

It is thought that Hype­r­ion will even­tu­ally evolve into some­thing like the Virgo Su­per­clus­ter in which our own Galaxy is found, so study­ing this ob­ject and com­par­ing it with oth­ers closer to us in the lo­cal Uni­verse can re­veal clues as to how the cos­mos formed and evolved over time.

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