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Massive 'Cosmic Vine' unveiled! Structure stretches over 13-million light years

Scientists uncover 'Cosmic Vine,' a colossal 13-million-light-year structure hosting 20 galaxies, offering new insights into massive galaxy formation and cosmic evolution.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Nov 19 2023, 17:51 IST
Stretching over 13 million light years, the Cosmic Vine is a colossal structure that houses a minimum of 20 massive galaxies. (Representative image) (NASA/Robert Gendler)

The vastness of the Milky Way Galaxy galaxy makes traversing it an insurmountable challenge. In comparison, our solar system is a mere speck in the grandeur of our galaxy, and yet, it too is overshadowed by the colossal galaxy clusters revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope and other instruments deployed by humanity. And now, scientists have unearthed an extraordinary entity: the amazingly large "Cosmic Vine".

Stretching an astonishing 13 million light-years, the Cosmic Vine is a colossal structure that houses a minimum of 20 massive galaxies. To put this immense scale into perspective, the structure was discovered at a redshift of 3.44, capturing a snapshot of the universe when it was a mere 2.5 billion years old, a fraction of its current estimated age of 13.7 billion years, The Weather Channel reported.

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Galaxies of Unprecedented Magnitude

This prodigious formation surpasses the size of other compact galaxy groups and proto-clusters at similar redshifts. Within the Cosmic Vine, two of the most massive galaxies ever identified at such a high redshift reside – Galaxy A and Galaxy E. These galaxies are in a quiescent state, indicating a slowdown in their star-forming activities.

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The unveiling of the Cosmic Vine is not just a cosmic spectacle but a significant revelation for understanding the formation and evolution of massive galaxies. Researchers speculate that this colossal structure may be the precursor to a galaxy cluster, shedding light on the processes that govern their formation and the emergence of massive galaxies within them.

The discovery challenges previous models, suggesting that massive quiescent galaxies can form within expanding large-scale structures, contrary to the belief that they only originate in mature galaxy cluster cores. Moreover, the study reveals that Galaxy A and Galaxy E experienced quenching, the halting of star formation, likely triggered by powerful energy releases from a supermassive black hole.

As astronomers seek to unravel the mysteries of galaxy formation, the recently-launched Euclid Space Telescope holds promise. Designed to explore the structure and history of large-scale cosmic structures, it may provide invaluable insights into the birth and evolution of these celestial giants.

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First Published Date: 19 Nov, 17:51 IST
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