National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Hot and Cold Gases in Distant Galaxy Cluster


Hot and Cold Gases in Distant Galaxy Cluster

This is a galaxy cluster, CL J1001+0220, which is 11.2 billion light-years away. This image is a composite of data taken by ALMA, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, and ESO’s VISTA telescope. This galaxy cluster is the furthest galaxy cluster in history to be detected with X-rays. This observation revealed that galaxy clusters existed more than 700 million years earlier than we had thought. This galaxy cluster will continue to receive much attention as a newborn galaxy cluster observed at a never before seen young age.

Galaxy Clusters Seen by Different Wavelengths of Electromagnetic Radiation

A collection of many galaxies is called as a galaxy cluster. A galaxy cluster is filled with high-temperature plasma gas, which emits strong X-rays. Meanwhile, the galaxies that constitute a galaxy cluster contain a large amount of cold molecular gases which becomes the material for stars. In this image, the area seen in Chandra’s X-ray data is colored purple. You can see the distribution of the plasma gas enveloping the galaxy cluster. The galaxy cluster is studded with individual galaxies. ALMA observed radio waves emitted from carbon monoxide molecules contained in the galaxies’ low temperature gas. The four dots that look whitish in the galaxy cluster are the galaxies detected by ALMA. You can see a number of galaxies existing outside of the plasma-gas-shrouded galaxy cluster. However, galaxies that look large are actually located much closer than the galaxy cluster. We can measure the distance to each galaxy through detailed examinations of the light emitted from the objects and the radio waves released from the molecular gas in the galaxy. Therefore, we can understand that this image has depth because the distances to the galaxy cluster and the galaxies are different.

Text by: Masaaki Hiramatsu (NAOJ Chile Observatory)
Translation by: Hiroko Tsuzuki and Ramsey Lundock (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)

Image Data

ObjectGalaxy cluster CL J1001+0220
TelescopeALMA, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESO’s VISTA telescope
WavelengthX-rays, near infrared, and radio waves
CreditX-ray: NASA/CXC/CEA/T. Wang et al; Infrared: ESO/UltraVISTA; Radio: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)


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