scorecardScientists uncover enormous cosmic structure containing a whopping 20 galaxies!
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Scientists uncover enormous cosmic structure containing a whopping 20 galaxies!

Scientists uncover enormous cosmic structure containing a whopping 20 galaxies!
LifeScience2 min read
Even if one could somehow devise the scientific and technological means to travel at The vastness of the Milky Way galaxy renders our solar system as a negligible smudge amidst cosmic dust. Comparable is the effect of gargantuan galaxy clusters, the largest gravity-tethered objects in the universe, on mere galaxies. Presently, scientists have identified a particularly remarkable one among these colossal entities.

An international team of astronomers has stumbled upon an extensive galaxy structure named "Cosmic Vine," measuring approximately 13 million light-years in length and encompassing at least 20 massive galaxies!

The structure was observed at a redshift of 3.44, signifying its appearance when the universe was merely a 2.5 billion-year-old infant. To provide context, current methods estimate the universe's age at 13.7 billion years.

Cosmic Vine stands out as an exceptionally lengthy and vast structure, surpassing the size of other known compact galaxy groups and proto-clusters at similar redshifts. Additionally, it harbors two of the most massive galaxies ever discovered at such a high redshift—Galaxy A and Galaxy E, both in a quiescent state, indicating a reduced rate of star formation.

The significance of uncovering Cosmic Vine lies in the new perspectives it offers on the formation and evolution of massive galaxies. Researchers believe that the Vine might serve as the precursor to a galaxy cluster, providing insights into the formation of such clusters and the emergence of massive galaxies within them.
Repercussions for Galaxy Formation
The identification of Cosmic Vine implies that massive quiescent galaxies can form within expanding large-scale structures, contrary to some prior models suggesting their exclusive formation in the cores of mature galaxy clusters.

Researchers also propose that Galaxy A and Galaxy E were likely subdued by substantial energy releases from a supermassive black hole before inevitably succumbing to the Vine's core. This implies that the quenching process, which halts star formation in galaxies, can transpire in various environments, not solely within the cores of galaxy clusters.

To gain a deeper understanding of the formation of these giants, further examination of quiescent cluster galaxies at high redshifts is imperative. Fortunately, the recently launched Euclid Space Telescope, designed to investigate the structure and history of large-scale structures in the universe, holds promise in advancing this research.

The research findings have been published in a preprint journal and can be accessed here.