A giant stream of stars between galaxies has been discovered

An international team of scientists has discovered a giant and extremely faint stream of stars between galaxies. According to the results of the study, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, this is the largest flow detected so far.

The first observations were made using a relatively small 70 cm telescope by California astronomer Michael Rich. This region of space was then studied using the 4.2-meter William Herschel telescope on the Spanish island of La Palma. After processing the image, an extremely faint stream was revealed, more than ten times the length of the Milky Way and reaching 510 kiloparsecs, or 1.6 million light years. This structure is located in the Coma cluster, which is about 300 million light-years from Earth and contains thousands of galaxies. The giant Coma stream flows in the center of the cluster, in the intergalactic medium, and is not associated with any particular galaxy.

The discovery is remarkable because the giant stream is a relatively fragile structure located in the middle of a hostile environment of mutually attracting and repelling galaxies. However, the existence of such flows is predicted by the standard cosmological model, so scientists expect that more such phenomena will be discovered in the future. In addition, astronomers hope to be able to observe individual stars in the stream to elucidate the distribution and properties of dark matter in the cluster. /BGNES