Jet shoots out of crash among four galaxy clusters
Van Weeren et al., Bill Saxton/NRAO/AUI/NSF, NASA
BOSTON — A galactic pileup 5 billion light-years away is building a powerful particle accelerator, up to a million times as strong as Earth’s mightiest, the Large Hadron Collider. New images from the Very Large Array and Chandra X-ray Observatory, presented June 3 at the American Astronomical Society meeting, reveal a colossal collision driving a fountain of charged particles 2.5 million light-years into intergalactic space.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe, said Reinout van Weeren of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at a press conference. Astronomers think that large clusters, which house thousands of galaxies, build up over billions of years as smaller clusters collide.