Friday, January 20, 2012

Galaxy Supercluster PLCK G214.6+37.0

This image shows one of the newly discovered superclusters of galaxies, PLCK G214.6+37.0, detected by Planck and confirmed by XMM-Newton. This is the first supercluster to be discovered through its Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect. The effect is the name for the cluster’s silhouette against the cosmic microwave background radiation. Combined with other observations, the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect allows astronomers to measure properties such as the temperature and density of the cluster’s hot gas where the galaxies are embedded. The right panel shows the X-ray image of the supercluster obtained with XMM-Newton, which reveals that three galaxy clusters comprise this supercluster. The bright orange blob in the left panel shows the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich image of the supercluster, obtained by Planck. The X-ray contours are also superimposed on the Planck image.

Image credit: ESA/Planck Collaboration; XMM-Newton image: ESA

Note: The Planck space observatory ran out of coolant this past January 14th for its High Frequency Instrument (HFI), ending that particular mission. However, the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) continues to work.

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