Most distant galaxy cluster ever recorded captured 11bn light years away

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A record-breaking newborn galaxy cluster has been found 11.1 billion light years away from Earth.

The cluster, called CL J1001+0220 or (CL J1001 for short), was captured at such an early stage in development that it has pushed the previously thought timeline of galaxy cluster formation back by about 700 million years. 

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“It appears that we have captured this galaxy cluster at a critical stage just as it has shifted from a loose collection of galaxies into a young, but fully formed galaxy cluster,” said co-author of the study David Elbaz from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

A galaxy cluster consists of hundreds, or even thousands, of galaxies that are held together by gravity, this remarkable never-before-seen stage of early life has blew open all that was previously understood about the phenomenon.

The core of Cl J1001 contains 11 massive galaxies, nine of which are experiencing a “baby booms of stars” at a rate that is the equivalent of over 3,000 suns forming every year.

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“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,” said Tao Wang of the CEA who led the study.

Only loose collections of galaxies, known as protoclusters, had been seen at a farther distance than CL J100