Phoenix Cluster

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Phoenix Cluster
Observation data (Epoch J2000.0[1])
Constellation(s) Phoenix
Right ascension 23h 44m 42s[1]
Declination −42° 43.1′[1]
Redshift 0.597 [2]
5.7 billion light years
Binding mass 1.26–2.5×1015MSun[2]
Other designations
Phoenix Cluster, SPT-CLJ2344-4243, SPT-CL J2344-4243[3]
See also: Galaxy groups, Galaxy clusters, List of galaxy clusters

The Phoenix Cluster (SPT-CL J2344-4243) is a galaxy cluster located in the constellation Phoenix, at a distance of roughly 5.7 billion light years. It has a mass of 2.5×1015 solar masses, making it one of the most massive galaxy clusters.[2]

Possibly dormant for billions of years, it has recently revealed a high rate of activity in star formation – the highest ever recorded in the middle of a galaxy cluster, although there are many individual high redshift galaxies which produce this many stars per year, or more. [4] Observations by a variety of telescopes including the GALEX and Herschel space telescopes show a creation of 740 solar masses (stars) per year.[2] This is considerably higher than the Perseus Cluster, where stars are formed around 20 times slower, or the one per year rate of star formation in our own galaxy.[5]

Phoenix Cluster is also producing more X-rays than any other known massive cluster.[2] The central galaxy in the cluster contains vast amounts of hot gas. More normal matter is present there than the total of all the other galaxies in the cluster. Data from observations indicate that hot gas is cooling in the central regions at a rate of 3,820 solar masses per year, the highest ever recorded.[2]

In the center of the system, there is a supermassive black hole growing very rapidly, expanding at a rate of about 60 solar masses per year. It is currently about 20 billion times the mass of the Sun, one of the largest known.[2]

The Phoenix Cluster was initially detected using the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect by the South Pole Telescope collaboration.[3]


  1. ^ a b c SIMBAD, "SPT-CL J2344-4243", accessed 2012-08-16
  2. ^ a b c d e f g M. McDonald, et al.; "A Massive, Cooling-Flow Induced Starburst in the Core of a Highly Luminous Galaxy Cluster", Nature, Aug 2012
  3. ^ a b R. Williamson, et al.; "An SZ-selected sample of the most massive galaxy clusters in the 2500-square-degree South Pole Telescope survey", arXiv, 6 January 2011, arXiv:1101.1290
  4. ^ Min Yun et al.; "Deep 1.1 mm-wavelength imaging of the GOODS-South field by AzTEC/ASTE – II. Redshift distribution and nature of the submillimetre galaxy population", arXiv, 28 September 2011, arXiv:1109.6286
  5. ^ S. Borenstein (August 16, 2012), Associated Press, ed., Star births seen on cosmic scale in distant galaxy, R&D Magazine,, retrieved September 13, 2012 

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