Five Billion Year Old, 50 Million Degree Clouds
3C295 (Cl 1409+524) is one of the most distant galaxy clusters observed by
X-ray telescopes. The cluster is filled with a vast cloud of fifty million
degree gas that radiates strongly in X rays. It has a redshift of 0.461,
which means that we see the galaxy cluster as it was 5 billion years ago.
3C295 was first discovered as a bright source of radio waves. The source of
the radio emission was found to be a giant elliptical galaxy located in the
center of the cluster of galaxies. NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory discovered
that this central galaxy is a strong, complex source of X rays. The gas
cloud, which is visible only with an X-ray telescope, contains more than a
hundred galaxies and enough material to make a thousand more. Roughly two
million light years in diameter, the cloud and its cluster of galaxies are
among the most massive objects in the universe. For more information, and
other astounding Chandra images, see the Chandra public
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F.
Last modified January 10, 2000