Supercluster of Galaxies ‘Saraswati’ Discovered

IAS Prelims 2023

Indian astronomers from Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has discovered an extremely large supercluster of galaxies — as big as 20 million billion suns — which they have named Saraswati.

The supercluster was discovered by Shishir Sankhyayan, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, Pratik Dabhade, IUCAA research fellow, Joe Jacob of the Newman College, Kerala, and Prakash Sarkar of the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur.

This is one of the largest known structures in the neighbourhood of the universe, 4,000 million light—years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old.

Its mass extends over the scale of 600 million light years.

Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web. They are a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies.

This “newly—discovered Saraswati supercluster” extends over a scale of 600 million light—years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.

A cluster could roughly have galaxies ranging from 1000 to 10,000. A supercluster could have clusters ranging from 40 to 43.

Our own galaxy Milky Way is part of a supercluster called the Laniakea supercluster.

Saraswati weighs about 200 million billion times more than the Sun. Saraswati is located 4 billion light years away from Earth. Saraswati supercluster was formed some 10 billion years ago.