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galaxyclusterAstronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered a cluster of galaxies 11.1 billion light-years from Earth.

The discovery sets a new record for the farthest galaxy cluster to be observed.

Named CL J1001+0220 (or CL J1001), it’s core consists of 11 massive galaxies, nine of which are experiencing formation of new stars at a rate, equivalent to over 3,000 suns forming per year.

“This galaxy cluster isn’t just remarkable for its distance, it’s also going through an amazing growth spurt unlike any we’ve ever seen,” Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), who led the study, said in a statement.

Researchers believe they caught CL J1001 just as it was transitioning from a detached clump of galaxies into a fully formed cluster.

“The presence of both a collapsed, cluster-sized halo and a predominant population of massive SFGs — star-forming galaxies — suggests that this structure could represent an important transition phase between protoclusters and mature clusters,” the scientists said in the study.

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