Indian astrophysicists discover supercluster of galaxies, name it 'Saraswati'


Indian scientists claimed to have discovered a supercluster of galaxies that exists some 4 billion light years away from the Earth and is as big as 20,000 trillion suns.

Marking a noteworthy discovery, a team Indian astronomers has uncovered a previously unknown "supercluster" of galaxies, naming it "Saraswati".

Saraswati is one of the largest known structures in the nearby universe, and is at a distance of 4,000 million light-years away from us. The mass of the cluster extends over the scale of 600 million light years.

With more observations, Bagchi hopes that we will also be able to use the supercluster to probe the interactions between dark matter, which helps clump galaxies together with its gravity, and dark energy, which causes space to expand and the galaxies to spread apart.

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Lead author of the paper, Joydeep Bagchi from IUCAA, and co-author Shishir Sankhyayan (PhD scholar at IISER) said, "We were very surprised to spot this giant wall-like supercluster of galaxies". The findings will be published in The Astrophysical Journal on July 19. "These clusters often stretch to numerous hundred times the size of the galaxies clusters and consists of many thousands of galaxies", stated IUCAA.

The newly discovered galaxy is the largest known structure in the neighborhood of the universe.

It is estimated that there are 10 million superclusters in the whole universe.

Most models of cosmic evolution, including "cold dark matter" models, fail to to predict the formation of superstructures like Saraswati.

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"This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids", he said.

The sun is one among a billion large stars and the Milky Way, which extends over 120,000 light years, is just a tiny dot in the unexplored universe.

The supercluster "Saraswati" has been named after a Hindu godesss and a major river, around which the people of the ancient Indian civilization lived in the past. "Our own galaxy is part of a supercluster called the Laniakea supercluster", the IUCAA was quoted as saying by PTI.

The team analyzed the data from Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a large spectroscopic survey of different galaxies. The structure is organized into clusters, which can be grouped into large clusters, each connected by filaments of dark matter.

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This project was supported by the University Grants Commission, through its funding of IUCAA, and the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA) programme.