Researchers identify 'record-breaking' galaxy cluster 11.1 billion light years from Earth

Scientists say that 'CL J1001+0220' is "just remarkable for its distance"

Researchers identify 'record-breaking' galaxy cluster 11.1 billion light years from Earth

Galaxy Cluster CL J1001+0220. Image: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CEA/T. Wang et al; Infrared: ESO/UltraVISTA; Radio: ESO/NAOJ/NRAO/ALMA

NASA says a new record for 'most distant galaxy cluster' has been set after researchers spotted a new cluster around 11.1 billion light years away from Earth.

The US space agency says 'CL J1001+0220' was located using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other telescopes.

Scientists suggest the cluster has been identified 'right after birth' - capturing a short but important stage in the evolution of individual galaxies and stars.

According to researchers, CL J1001 contains 11 'massive' galaxies, with nine of them experiencing what is described as a 'baby boom of stars'.

NASA says "stars are forming in the cluster’s core at a rate that is equivalent to over 3,000 Suns forming per year". 

While loose collections of galaxies have been spotted at greater distances before, this is said to be an important discovery as a 'fully formed' galaxy cluster has not been observed so far from Earth before.

Tao Wang of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) said: “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."

Alexis Finoguenov - from University of Helsinki and a co-author of the study - added: “We think we’re going to learn a lot about the formation of clusters and the galaxies they contain by studying this object, and we’re going to be searching hard for other examples."