The Most Distant Cluster of Galaxies

Using the Subaru Telescope, a team of astronomers discovered the most distant protocluster of galaxies ever found near the constellation Coma Barenices. With its distance of 12.7 billion light-years, this protocluster exists less than one billion years after the Big Bang. The team also investigated the properties of the galaxies in the protocluster, but they did not find a significant difference between the protocluster galaxies and other galaxies in the field. They speculate that the characteristic features of cluster galaxies in the nearby universe occurred in later stages of cluster development, not during their birth. The discovery of a protocluster in the early universe advances our understanding of how large-scale structures form and how galaxies evolve.