Webb Space Telescope discovers giant cosmic vine

An international team of astronomers has announced the discovery of a large-scale structure consisting of 20 massive galaxies, called the Cosmic Vine. It is about 13 million light years in size. Research results published on the arXiv preprint server.

The giant structure was discovered at redshift 3.44 (corresponding to a distance of 22 billion light years) in the Extended Grotto Band (EGS) region during observations with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

The space vine is approximately 13.04 million light years long and 0.65 million light years wide. Therefore, this structure is significantly larger than other compact galaxy groups and protoclusters at redshifts above 3.0. The total mass of its galaxies reaches 260 billion solar masses. The two most massive galaxies in this structure, designated Galaxy A and Galaxy E, are quiescent (with a star formation rate below 0.5 solar masses per year).

Massive and dense structures of galaxies are considered as the initial stage of the development of galaxy clusters – the most massive gravitationally bound systems in the Universe. The discovery of new structures of this type and their study is important for understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies.

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