A team of astronomers has tracked down the oldest cluster of galaxies identified by now, which appeared in the early days of the universe.
The pivotal discovery could offer valuable information related to the current state of the known universe. Twelve galaxies formed a clump 13 billion years ago, approximately 700 million years after the Bing Bang took place.
The immense distance between them and us (13 billion-years) delayed the identification process since they weren’t visible until recently. Himiko, one of the major galaxies, was spotted almost a decade ago by the same scientists.
They were surprised to learn that the other eleven galaxies aren’t clustered around Himiko. It seems that the giant galaxy is located near the boundary of the solar system, which has been classified as a protocluster due to the remarkable age, as it is older than all the clusters which were observed in the past.
To find a protocluster near a massive object is not unusual but Himiko is located at a distance of 500 million light-years away from the center, according to one of the researchers who were involved in the study.
By understanding more about the processes which are involved in the formation of galaxy clusters researchers hope to learn more about the galaxies which are found within their boundaries. Many galaxies tend to form in clumps with other galaxies, including the Milky Way.
The clumping is tied to their behavior as galaxies which were observed in populated clumps tend to form galaxies in a different manner in comparison to low-density areas. It is also theorized that the impact generated by clumping tends to change.
In the study assembled by the researchers it is mentioned that in ancient galaxies differently stars tended to form at an accelerated pace if they were in a populated clump. This goes against the trend spotted in the case of modern galaxies, and many researchers were intrigued.
The study was published in a peer-reviewed journal.