In a major astronomical triumph, a team of Indian astronomers from Pune has discovered an extremely large supercluster of galaxies — as big as 20 million billion suns. The astronomers from Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) have named the cluster Saraswati. The study carried out by these scientist says that the cluster is one of the largest known structures in the neighborhood, 4,000 million light-years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old. The mass of the cluster extends over the scale of 600 million light years. Last year, the Scientists of this Institute also carried out the path-breaking discovery based on gravitational waves. The supercluster was discovered by Shishir Sankhyayan, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, Pratik Dabhade, IUCAA research fellow, Joe Jacob of the Newman College, Kerala, and Prakash Sarkar of the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur. The findings of these scientists were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society. “Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web. They are a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies,” the IUCAA said in a statement.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, Sankhyayan said this “newly-discovered Saraswati supercluster” extends over a scale of 600 million light-years. “Our own galaxy is part of a supercluster called the Laniakea supercluster,” the IUCAA was quoted as saying by PTI. Joydeep Bagchi from IUCAA, the lead author of the paper in the journal, and co-author Sankhyayan said told PTI that they were astonished to spot the huge wall-like supercluster of galaxies, visible in a large spectroscopic survey of distant galaxies. “This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids,” Bagchi said. “The Saraswati supercluster is far more distant,” Bagchi added.