MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely active supermassive black hole, or quasar.
The central quasar goes by the name PKS1353-341 and is intensely bright—so bright that for decades astronomers observing it in the night sky have assumed that the quasar was quite alone in its corner of the universe, shining out as a solitary light source from the center of a single galaxy.
But as the MIT team reports today in the Astrophysical Journal, the quasar’s light is so bright that it has obscured hundreds of galaxies clustered around it.
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