A study of the Universe’s most massive galaxy clusters has shown that mergers play a vital role in their evolution.
Astronomers at Oxford University and the Gemini Observatory used a combination of data from the twin Gemini Telescopes, located in Hawaii and Chile, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to study populations of stars in the Universe’s most massive galaxy clusters over a range of epochs – the earliest being half the age of the Universe. The HST images were used to map the light distribution of the galaxies in the cluster. Data from the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph allowed the team to analyse the light from galaxies to determine their masses, ages and chemical compositions.
“We still don’t have a clear picture of how galaxies develop over the history of the Universe. The strength of this study is that we are able to look at galaxy clusters over a range of epochs,” said Dr Jordi Barr of Oxford University, who is presenting some of the first results of the Gemini/HST Galaxy Cluster Project at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting on 5th April.
Anita Heward | alfa
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