Space is never too good! While the universe seems stagnant and boring, it is far from the truth. Chemical processes and cosmic collisions are constantly disturbing in the universe.
Scientists have found that the collision between two galaxy clusters triggered a giant shock wave that was 1.6 million light-years long. The findings were revealed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and claim that Abell 2146, a galaxy cluster located 2.8 billion light-years away, is now one of three cluster collisions in the universe, which has created enough space to be studied in detail. has created shock waves, SPACE.com reported.
How was the collision studied?
Galaxy clusters contain much more matter than just galaxies, including dark matter and an intra-cluster medium of gases. These extremely hot gases are visible in X-rays.
A team of astronomers from the University of Nottingham studied Abell 2146 for 23 days – giving us a detailed look at cosmic collisions. One of the galaxy clusters is “falling” through the other. In the process, it generates two shock waves – a bow shock and an upstream shock.
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In addition to the length, the astronomers also calculated the width of these shock waves. The depth of the Bow Shock is 55,500 light-years while the Upstream Shock is about 35,000 light-years wide.
The study’s findings will be published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society, and a preprint can be read on arXiv. With such observations, astronomers hope to better understand the processes that make up galaxies, the role of collisions, and the impact of such collisions.
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Cooper, K. (2022, June 13). Massive galaxy cluster collision triggers giant shock wave more than a million light-years long, space.com.