International team of astronomers report observations of ‘record-breaking’ star formation

UMKC astrophysicist Mark Brodwin

Mark Brodwin

UMKC astrophysicist Mark Brodwin, Ph.D., is part of a team of astronomers that have found an extraordinary galaxy cluster, one of the largest objects in the universe, that is breaking several important cosmic records. Observations of the Phoenix cluster with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the National Science Foundation’s South Pole Telescope, and eight other world-class observatories may force astronomers to rethink how these colossal structures and the galaxies that inhabit them evolve. The research team’s observations appear in the Aug. 16 issue of Nature.

Stars are forming in the Phoenix cluster at the highest rate ever observed for the middle of a galaxy cluster. The object also is the most powerful producer of X-rays of any known cluster and among the most massive. The data also suggest the rate of hot gas cooling in the central regions of the cluster is the largest ever observed.

The Phoenix cluster is located about 5.7 billion light years from Earth. It is named not only for the constellation in which it is located, but also for its remarkable properties.  Click here to read the full NASA news release.


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