Astronomers discover largest galaxy cluster Hyperion in early universe

Christopher Davidson
October 20, 2018

Using the VIMOS instrument on the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile, the teams - who come from the University of California and the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Bologna - identified a huge proto-supercluster of galaxies forming in the early Universe, just 2.3 billion years after the Big Bang.

Astronomers suspect Hyperion's unusual structure may be related to its emergence at a time when the universe was still very young.

Discovered proto-supercluster, dubbed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive structure, which can be found in the early evolving Universe.

The galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, was identified using the VIMOS instrument on European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile, said researchers from the University of California, Davis in the US.

Astronomers have peered into the distant reaches of space and discovered the largest, most extensive collection of galaxies ever discovered.

Unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today's grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.

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An global team of astronomers has discovered a titanic structure in the early Universe, just two billion years after the Big Bang.

An global team of astronomers has discovered a titanic structure in the early Universe, just two billion years after the Big Bang.

The moniker Hyperion was chosen after a titan from Greek mythology and like this entity that holds them together, these blobs have been assigned similar names, such as Theia, Eos, Selene and Helios.

Hyperion consists of seven dense regions, connected by filaments of galaxies.

Hyperion was spotted in the COSMOS field of the Sextans constellations. "We have models that we infer how the evolution of the universe started", said Olga Cucciati of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Bologna, Italy, who is also the lead author of the study published on Wednesday in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Hyperion's configuration is in stark contrast to low redshifted superclusters found closer to Earth, as these tend to have a more concentrated distribution of mass with clear structural features; a difference that is most likely due to age. In the local universe, the Virgo and Laniakea Superclusters reign supreme, the latter stretching some 500 million light-years across and containing about 100,000 galaxies, including our own. "Uncovering this vast titan reveals the historical backdrop of these huge scale structures", Cucciati included.

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