Feeds

Galaxies rent asunder in huge cosmic collision

There goes the no-claims bonus

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

An international team of astronomers has observed the perfect cosmic storm: the most powerful collision of two galactic clusters ever recorded.

The scientists who discovered the collision likened it to two high-pressure weather fronts colliding to create hurricane-like conditions. Only in this case, whole galaxies can be thrown from their paths. As the two clusters hit each other head on, the impact created an enormous shock wave of superheated gases and plasma that rolled out into space.

Galactic clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe: each cluster contains thousands of galaxies and millions of stars.

The cosmic light show was spotted with the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory. The super cluster involved is Abell 754, in the constellation Hydra.

Team leader Dr Patrick Henry of the University of Hawaii said: "Here before our eyes we see the making of one of the biggest objects in the universe. What was once two distinct but smaller galaxy clusters 300 million years ago is now one massive cluster in turmoil."

The AOL takeover of Time-Warner was peanuts compared to this merger, he added.

Although the super cluster has been known for many years, it is only with the detailed analysis of data now available that scientists can say what actually happened during the collision.

"One cluster has apparently smashed into the other from the 'northwest' and has since made one pass through," said Dr Alexis Finoguenov of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

"Now, gravity will pull the remnants of this first cluster back towards the core of the second. Over the next few billion years, the remnants of the clusters will settle and the merger will be complete."

The Milky Way is also part of a galactic cluster. We are heading for the Virgo cluster, it seems, and will ram straight into it in around two billion years time. Make a note in your diaries. ®

Related stories

Missing galaxies puzzle scientists
Earth to disappear from alien radar
Hubble loses an eye
Astronomers uncover mystery at galactic core

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor
Single ant-sized Stanford chip combines radio, 'puter, antenna
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans
Slimy chums form deadly alliance to sweep seas
Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway
Just to take lovely pictures though, after Richard Branson invests in 3D Robotics
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins
Still far too many of them being struck by US ships, mind
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.