Massive monster in the far reaches

Contributed by
Aug 25, 2008
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Optical plus X-ray observation of distant, massive clusterI am sitting in the Las Vega$ airport coming home from a party at Penn's house (I'm such a jetsetter -- long story) and I see that XMM-Newton -- a European observatory that detects high energy X-rays from space -- stumbled on the most massive cluster of galaxies ever seen in the distant Universe. Tipping the scale at more than 1000 times the mass of the Milky Way (most of this in the form of million-degree+ gas -- or plasma if you're a picky antiscientist), it's lying at a distance of 7.7 billion light years. That's quite a hike.

Since I'm at the airport and my plane leaves in a few minutes I don't have time to wax poetic on this bruiser, but go ahead and check out the story to read more and see pretty pictures in detail.