The Astrophysics and Cosmology Group

The largest objects: galaxy clusters

Uri Keshet

The Perseus cluster core (Chandra) with highlighted spiral cold fronts and X-ray cavities.

Galaxy clusters, as the largest virialized objects ever to form in the Universe, link cosmology and astrophysics. These 'island-universe' objects are mainly composed of dark matter and a hot, dilute plasma. Their stability is an open question, as the strong X-ray emission should have naively led to catastrophic cooling and collapse. Over the past decade, mysterious spiral structures were found in practically all clusters. They may be driven by the giant black hole lurking in the center of every cluster, for example through the relativistically hot bubbles it injects into the plasma (figure).

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