In the direction of the constellation Pisces, about 4,000 million (400 crore) light years away from Earth, a team of astronomers from the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and members of two universities have discovered Saraswati, a large supercluster of galaxies.
A Supercluster is 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. Extending over a scale of 600 million light years the recently discovered Saraswati supercluster is expected to contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.
In its latest issue, The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society, will be publishing the discovery.
The remarkable astronomer, Joydeep Bagchi from IUCAA, is the main author of the paper with Shishir Sankhyayan (PhD scholar at IISER, Pune) being the co-author. Bagchi and Sankhyayan said, “We were very surprised to spot this giant wall-like supercluster of galaxies, visible in a large spectroscopic survey of distant galaxies, known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids.”
“Our work will help to shed light on the perplexing question of how such extreme large-scale, prominent matter-density enhancements had formed billions of years in the past when the mysterious Dark Energy had just started to dominate structure formation,’’ they added.
Officials explained that one needs to identify these superclusters and closely study the effect of their environment on the galaxies to understand galaxy formation and evolution. The introduction to Saraswati will enhance this new field of research.
Giving into the fabulous charisma of the build of our existence, they added that when astronomers look far away, they see the universe from long ago, since light takes a while to reach us. The Saraswati supercluster is observed as it was when the Universe was 10 billion years old.
The paper will take IUCAA places as it is a direct product of IUCAA’s associateship programme. While the two aurthors, Prof. Joydeep Bagchi and Prof. Somak Raychaudhury, Director IUCAA, are faculty members at IUCAA, the co-authors are Shishir Sankhyayan- PhD student at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, Pratik Dabhade- a Research Fellow at IUCAA, Joe Jacob- of Physics, Newman College, Thodupuzha, Kerala (IUCAA Associate) and Prakash Sarkar – Dept. of Physics, National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur (ex- IUCAA Postdoctoral Fellow).