The GRANTECAN discovers the largest cluster of galaxies known in the early universe

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The studied galaxy cluster in formation, 12.5 billion mild years from us. The circles point out the new members found with the GTC, 4 of them are proven in element. Credit: NASA/ESA/GOODS-N+3DHST+CANDELS Team/Daniel López/IAC

A research, led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and carried out with OSIRIS, an instrument on the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), has discovered the most densely populated galaxy cluster in formation in the primitive universe. The researchers predict that this construction, which is at a distance of 12.5 billion mild years from us, may have advanced turning into a cluster much like that of Virgo, a neighbor of the Local Group of galaxies to which the Milky Way belongs. The research is revealed in the specialised journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

Clusters of galaxies are teams of galaxies which stay collectively as a result of of the motion of gravity. To perceive the evolution of these “cities of galaxies” scientists search for buildings in formation, the so-called galaxy protoclusters, in the early universe.

In 2012 a world workforce of astronomers made an correct dedication of the distance of the galaxy HDF850.1, known as one of the galaxies with the highest price of star formation in the observable universe. To their shock, the scientists additionally found that this galaxy, which is one of the most studied areas on the sky, known as the Hubble Deep Field/GOODS-North, is an element of a bunch of round a dozen protogalaxies which had shaped throughout the first thousand million years of cosmic historical past. Before its discovery just one different comparable primordial group was known.

Now, because of a brand new piece of analysis with the OSIRIS instrument on the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC, or GRANTECAN), the workforce has proven that it’s one of the most densely populated areas populated with galaxies in the primitive Universe, and have for the first time carried out an in depth research of the bodily properties of this method. “Surprisingly we have discovered that all the members of the cluster studied up to now, around two dozen, are galaxies with normal star formation, and that the central galaxy appears to dominate the production of stars in this structure” explains Rosa Calvi, previously a postdoctoral researcher at the IAC and first creator of the article.

Witnesses to the infancy of the native Universe

This latest research reveals that this cluster of galaxies in formation is made up of numerous elements, or “zones” with variations in their evolution. The astronomers predict that this construction will change steadily till it turns into a galaxy cluster much like Virgo, the central area of the supercluster of the similar identify in which is located the Local Group of galaxies to which the Milky Way belongs. “We see this city in construction just as it was 12,500 million years ago, when the Universe had less than 10% of its present age, so we are seeing the childhood of a cluster of galaxies like those which are typical in the local Universe” notes Helmut Dannerbauer, an IAC researcher who’s co-author of this text.

The distance measured to those studied sources agrees completely with the predictions primarily based on photometric observations taken beforehand on GRANTECAN by Pablo Arrabal Haro, previously a doctoral pupil at the IAC, supervised by José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa, an IAC researcher and Assistant General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and Casiana Muñoz-Tuñón, a researcher and Deputy Director of the IAC, all of them co-authors of the current article. Arrabal developed a way for choosing galaxies with regular star formation charges, primarily based on the photometric survey SHARDS (Survey for High-z Absorption Red and Dead Sources), a Large Program of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) carried out on the GTC. “I am very happy to see that the method developed during my doctoral thesis works so well in finding and confirming a region highly populated with galaxies in the distant Universe” states Arrabal.

The SHARDS program has been led by Pablo Pérez-González, researcher at the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and in addition creator of the paper. As Pérez-González explains, “measuring exactly how these structures are forming, especially at the beginning of the Universe, is not easy, and we need exceptional data such as those we are taking with the GTC telescope as part of the SHARDS and SHARDS Frontier Fields projects, which allow us to determine distances to galaxies and between galaxies at the edge of the Universe with a precision never achieved before.”

In addition, Stefan Geier, GTC help astronomer and co-author of the paper factors out that “this highly surprising result would not have been possible without the extraordinary capacity of OSIRIS together with the large colllecting area of the GRANTECAN, the largest optical and infrared telescope in the world.”

The Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) are half of the community of Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures of Spain.


Big information to mannequin the evolution of the cosmic net


More info:
Rosa Calvi et al, Probing the existence of a wealthy galaxy overdensity at z = 5.2, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2021). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa4037

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Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias


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The GRANTECAN discovers the largest cluster of galaxies known in the early universe (2021, February 26)
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