News FocusAstronomy

The Mystery of the Migrating Galaxy Clusters

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Science  29 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5402, pp. 625-626
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5402.625

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A mass migration of galaxies may be taking place, but astronomers can't agree on which way they are going. First reported 4 years ago, the migration seemed to be taking place on a scale so huge--a swath of sky hundreds of millions of light-years across--that astronomers withheld judgment about whether it was real and what could be causing it until confirmation came in. Now three other groups have gone looking for the mass movement and have come back with results that only deepen the mystery. Two of the teams found "bulk motions" of galaxy clusters with very similar speeds but at roughly 90 degrees to the earlier result, while a third team found no bulk motion at all.