Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe held together by gravity, but because they’re made up of mostly dark matter, they’re difficult to measure.
In a new study, published this week in the Astrophysical Journal, a team of researchers from Taiwan, Italy, Japan and the United States detailed their discovery of a law they believe governs the evolution of all galaxy clusters.
When astronomers combined their calculations with gas temperature measurements recorded by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, they found a rather simple law dictating the relationship between each cluster’s size, mass and gas temperature.
The law suggests that while galaxy clusters have been growing for between 4 and 8 billion years, they’re still in adolescence.
The newly discovered law could help scientists unravel the complex relationships between the thousands of galaxies that make up galaxy clusters. Understanding the dynamics of cluster relations is essential to studying the cosmological laws of the universe.