A mysterious X-ray signal has been found in a detailed study of galaxy clusters using Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton.
The latest results from Chandra and XMM-Newton consist of an unidentified X-ray emission line (a spike of intensity at a very specific wavelength of X-ray light) in the Perseus Cluster. Astronomers also found the line in a combined study of 73 other galaxy clusters with XMM-Newton.
This composite image is Chandra’s latest view of the Perseus Cluster, where red, green, and blue show low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively. It combines data equivalent to more than 17 days of observation time taken over a decade with Chandra.
The Perseus Cluster is one of the most massive objects in the Universe, and contains thousands of galaxies immersed in an enormous cloud of superheated gas.
In this X-ray image, enormous bright loops, ripples and jet-like streaks throughout the cluster can be seen. The dark blue filaments in the centre are likely due to a galaxy that has been torn apart and is falling into NGC 1275 (aka Perseus A), the giant galaxy that lies at the centre of the cluster.
X-ray image credit: Nasa/CXC/SAO/EBulbul, et al.