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20 trillion solarmass hot cloud going 750 clicks

  1. Jun 18, 2006 #1


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    the popular news item says "gigantic-ball-of-fire-discovered" heh heh

    it is a gas cloud in the cluster Abell 3266 which is hot enough to be observed in Xray wavelengths----ie on order of million kelvin

    and has been estimated (in that and in the technical article linked to) as about 3 million lightyears diameter with mass of 2 x 1013 solar masses. that is 20 trillion, compare this to the Andromeda galaxy whose mass is about 1 trillion.

    the apparent diameter of the Abell 3266 cloud in the sky is about half the diameter of the full moon.

    would be a nice sight for us to see if we had Xray eyes

    the observers are happy because, as they say, it lets them glimpse STRUCTURE FORMATION IN PROGRESS
    they get to see the processes by which clusters of galaxies form

    they estimate the thing is traveling 750 kilometers per second---quite fast.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2006 #2
    750 km/s is fairly average for a cluster merger. In fact major merger velocites are generally of order 1-2000 km/s. The dispersion of the galaxy velocities in a cluster is about 500-1200 km/s.

    Search for the bullet cluster (1E0657-56) on arxiv or google to find an example of an extremely interesting cluster merger.
  4. Jun 18, 2006 #3


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    thanks matt!
    appreciate the tip
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