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An international team of astronomers have detected a giant structure in the early Universe, simply two billion years after the Big Bang. This giant is the largest and most massive structure yet discovered at such a remote time and distance. The name of this galaxy proto-supercluster is Hyperion.
The international team of astronomers, who realized the mission, are Olga Cucciati of Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) Bologna, Italy and project scientist Brian Lemaux in the Department of Physics, College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis, and included Lori Lubin, professor of physics at UC Davis.
They used the VIMOSinstrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile to identify a gigantic proto-supercluster of galaxies forming in the early Universe, just 2.3 billion years after the Big Bang.
“This is the first time that such a large structure has been identified at such a high redshift, just over 2 billion years after the Big Bang,” Cucciati said. “Normally these kinds of structures are known at lower redshifts, which means when the Universe has had much more time to evolve and construct such huge things. It was a surprise to see something this evolved when the Universe was relatively young.”
Hyperion is the largest and most massive structure to be detected so early in the formation of the Universe, with a calculated mass more than one billion times that of the Sun. This huge mass is similar to that of the largest structures observed in the Universe today, but finding such a massive object in the early Universe astonished space scientists.
“Superclusters closer to Earth tend to a much more concentrated distribution of mass with clear structural features,” Lemaux said. “But in Hyperion, the mass is distributed much more uniformly in a series of connected blobs, populated by loose associations of galaxies.”
For understanding Hyperion (titanic structure) and how it compares to similar recent structures can give understandings into how the Universe developed in the past. It will allow scientists the opportunity to challenge some models of supercluster formation.