Hamburg Observatory astronomers have made the most detailed images of the largest cosmic shock waves ever observed. The observations are based on data from the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Galaxies are not evenly distributed across the universe. They gather in so-called galaxy clusters. These are held together by gravity. But gravity also causes galaxy clusters to attract each other. So, collisions inevitably occur. The collisions of galaxy clusters are the largest astronomical events from the formation of the universe.
gigantic cosmic shock waves are created, when clusters of galaxies collide. These travel through the newly formed galaxy cluster. Now scientists have successfully produced images of the largest shock wave ever observed. They have used data from the MeerKAT radio telescope. The high-resolution images from the galaxy cluster Abell 3667. It provided unique insights into the structure of cosmic shock waves.
Hamburg Observatory’s key research area is the study of galaxy clusters. The cluster Abell 3667 can be observed in a very well manner with the MeerKAT radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. As it is comparatively close to the Earth. Abell 3667 was formed a billion years ago. But scientists are measuring today that it placed about 800 million years ago. The shock waves propagated at 1500 kilometers per second, at that time. It was about 60 times the size of our Milky Way.