Largest-ever galaxy proto-supercluster Hyperion spotted

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 18, 2018

The galaxy proto-supercluster - named Hyperion - is the largest spotted in the early universe, justtwo billion years after the Big Bang.

Scientists have called the ancient colossal structure Hyperion, the European Southern Observatory announced Wednesday. The evidence suggests it's more massive than one million billion Suns.

Astronomers have nicknamed the behemoth Hyperion, after one of the twelve Titans born to the gods Uranus and Gaia.

"This is the first time that such a large structure has been identified at such a high redshift, just over 2 billion years after the Big Bang", explained the first author of the discovery paper, Olga Cucciati [2].

'It was a surprise to see something this evolved when the Universe was relatively young'.

The discovery was made using data from the Hubble Space Telescope's VIMOS Ultra-deep Survey, which can measure the distance to hundreds of galaxies and map positions within the forming supercluster in 3D.

Hyperion sits in the constellation Sextans, and is said to have a complex structure that differentiates it from nearby superclusters of similar size.

Hyuperion has seven hyper-density regions connected by filaments - and is very different from superclusters nearer our planet.

"Superclusters closer to Earth tend to [have] a much more concentrated distribution of mass with clear structural features", said astronomer Brian Lemaux of the University of California, Davis.

"But in Hyperion, the mass is distributed much more uniformly in a series of connected blobs, populated by loose associations of galaxies".

While the other nearby clusters had billions of years for gravity to pull matter closer together, the process has taken place over a much shorter time in Hyperion.

Given its size so early in the history of the Universe, Hyperion is expected to evolve into something similar to the enormous structures in the local Universe such as the superclusters making up the Sloan Great Wall or the Virgo Supercluster that contains our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

'Understanding Hyperion and how it compares to similar recent structures can give insights into how the universe developed in the past and will evolve into the future, and allows us the opportunity to challenge some models of supercluster formation.,' Cucciati said.

"Unearthing this cosmic titan helps uncover the history of these large-scale structures".

The team's research will appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, and can be read on pre-print resource arXiv.

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