10 new massive galaxy clusters discovered

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - An international team of scientists has discovered 10 new massive galaxy clusters from a large, uniform survey of the southern sky.

The survey was conducted using a breakthrough technique that detects “shadows” of galaxy clusters on the cosmic microwave background radiation, a relic of the “big bang” that gave birth to the universe.

Rutgers University astrophysicists and collaborators at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) have described their visual telescope observations of these galaxy clusters, which were essential to verify the cosmic shadow sightings.

Both observations will help scientists better understand how the universe was born and continues to evolve.

The research began in 2008 with a new radio telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile-one of the driest places on Earth. The instrument, known as the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), collects millimeter-length radio waves that reveal images of the otherwise invisible cosmic background radiation. Millimeter waves are easily blocked by water vapor, hence the telescope’s home high in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile, where there is barely any atmospheric moisture.

“The groundbreaking observations at Atacama, led by Lyman Page of Princeton University, surveyed large areas of the sky to reveal shadows that pointed astronomers to these previously unseen massive galaxy clusters,” said Felipe Menanteau, a research scientist in physics and astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, at Rutgers.

The study has been published in the Nov. 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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