Extreme Galaxy Cluster Birthing Stars at Excessive Rate
The newly discovered Phoenix cluster may be one of the most extreme objects ever observed, being among the most massive, luminous, and productive clusters in the universe. Located about 5.7 billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Phoenix, it has a mass roughly 2,500 trillion times that of the sun. Distributed between the galaxies in the cluster is an enormous amount of gas heated up to nearly 200 million degrees Fahrenheit – much hotter than the center of the sun. The fiery gas emits massive amounts of X-rays, making the Phoenix cluster the most luminous X-ray cluster known.
The galaxy that sits right in the center of the hot and bright cluster is feeding on this gas and energy to generate new stars far in excess of the normal rate. Ordinary and mature galaxies, like our own Milky Way, produce one or two new stars a year while Phoenix is creating about 700 new stars per year.