An international group of scientists has managed to observe with detail the gigantic filaments of gas connecting the galaxies and form what is known as the "cosmic web" , the vast network that controls the distribution of matter at the scale of the cosmos. Despite the fact that this colossal fabric is one of the largest structures of the universe, it is also one of the darkest and oscurridizas, for which until now had remained quite elusive to direct observation. The results, published in the journal "Science", confirms how these long arms of gas providing fuel for the formation of a young cluster of galaxies 12,000 million light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius.The image shows a map of the filaments of gas (in blue) - Hideki Umehata
The clusters of galaxies, the largest structures united gravitationally in the universe, can contain from hundreds to thousands of galaxies. However, despite its enormous size and the great amount of matter they contain, it is believed that the greater part of the gas in the universe resides in-between spaces. The cosmological models predict that over 60% of the hydrogen formed after the Big Bang is distributed as long filaments that crisscross the intergalactic medium and form the cosmic web. At the points where they cross these filaments, galaxies and black holes fed by flows of cooling gas.
The greater part of what is known about that weak cosmic web is theoretical, so the researchers, led by the Riken Research Institute in Japan, pointed out the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, and the telescope Subaru in Hawaii to the massive cluster SSA22. In this way, mapped the energy emitted by the hydrogen cosmic irradiated by the intense stellar activity within the galaxies.
These observations are based on the detection of what is known as radiation of Lyman-alpha, the uv light is produced when ionizing the gas of neutral hydrogen and then returns to its ground state, using the instrument of MUSE at the VLT. The researchers discovered that the radiation was intense, too high to come from the background radiation of ultraviolet of the universe. The calculations indicated that it was probably caused by galaxies forming stars and black holes.
"This suggests with much force that the gas that falls along the filaments under the force of gravity triggers the formation of galaxies and explosive supermassive black holes, giving the universe the structure we see today," says Hideki Umehata, of Riken and head of the study.
"We have been able to clearly show that these filaments are extremely long, even beyond the edge of the field that we observe," he continues. "This adds credibility to the idea that they are actually driving the intense activity that we see in the galaxies".
As you add the co-author Michele Fumagalli of the University of Durham, in the Uk, "it is very exciting to see clearly for the first time, multi-filament and extended in the early universe. Finally we have a way to map these structures directly and understand in detail their role in the regulation of the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes".Updated Date: 05 October 2019, 12:00