Galaxy Clusters Reveal Their Secrets

Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1781-1782
DOI: 10.1126/science.1064111

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Galaxy clusters may contain hundreds of galaxies within the same space in which the Local Group of galaxies (to which the Milky Way belongs) contains just three major galaxies. The galaxies in such a cluster interact strongly with each other, but little is known in detail about the clusters. In his Perspective, Braun highlights the study by Zwaan et al., who have measured the 21-centimeter hydrogen emission line from one of the densest clusters in the nearby universe. Their results indicate that the cluster strips all hydrogen gas from any galaxy that strays near its gravitational center. To witness the assembly of galaxy clusters and the early evolution of galaxies will require studies of much more distant objects.