An incredibly rare clash between four different galaxy clusters has been spotted by a NASA observatory. The stunning image was uploaded by NASA on its official website on January 28th, 2020.
NASA astronomers have used data from the space company’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as from other telescopes, and put together an elaborate map of an unusual collision between four galaxy clusters. In the end, all four galaxy clusters will combine to take the shape of the most massive cosmic bodies in the Universe. Each of the clusters has a mass of at least a few hundred trillion times the weight of the Sun.
Galaxy clusters are some massive structures in the Universe, bound together by gravity. Each of those clusters harbors hundreds of thousands of galaxies, containing stars, gas and dust, as well as massive clouds of hot gas that is invisible to optical telescopes, and an enormous amount of puzzling and invisible dark matter. The latter element is a form of matter that has never been detected by any telescope so far, but researchers know it exists because it can be felt through its gravitational pull on the galaxies and hot gas.
Massive Structure in Development
The new discovery, therefore, depicts a mega-structure being created approximately 3 billion light-years away from our home planet, in a system known as Abell 1758.
“Each pair in the system contains two galaxy clusters that are well on their way to merging. In the northern (top) pair seen in the composite image, the centers of each cluster have already passed by each other once, about 300 to 400 million years ago, and will eventually swing back around,” NASA explains in a statement posted with the image.
“The southern pair at the bottom of the image has two clusters that are close to approaching each other for the first time,” the space agency states.