Huge Galaxy Cluster Hints at Universe’s Skeleton

Light may have been shed on the on the underlying skeleton of the cosmos, as an unknown set of gigantic galaxies in the distant universe has been found. “Matter is not distributed uniformly in the universe,” said Masayuki Tanaka, an astronomer who helped discover the galactic assemblage and is attached to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). “The most widely accepted cosmological theories predict that matter also clumps on a larger scale in the so-called ‘cosmic web,’ in which galaxies, embedded in filaments stretching between voids, create a gigantic wispy structure.”

Millions of light-years long, these filaments constitute the skeleton of the of the Universe. With Galaxies around them and Galaxy clusters forming at their intersections they look more like giant spiders lurking and waiting for more matter to digest. Until now, solid proof was lacking to prove their existence. In images taken earlier, Tanaka’s team discovered what appeared to be a large structure around a distant cluster of galaxies. Using two major ground-based telescopes they have now obtained a three-dimensional view of the structure. Several groups of galaxies which surround the main galaxy cluster have been identified. Each group is estimated to be ten to a thousand times more massive than the Milky Way Galaxy. Estimates of the mass of the cluster put it at least ten thousand times that of the Milky Way. The filament extends over at least 60 million light-years is located about 6.7 billion light-years away from us. However the structure is suspected to be longer and future observations have already been planned to get an accurate measurement.