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Astronomers have Spotted a Giant Wave in the Perseus Galaxy Cluster

A huge wave traversing 200,000 light years, called an ‘X-ray tsunami’, is rolling through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster, as caught in this video based on pictures captured by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Galaxy clusters are the biggest gravity-bound structures in the cosmos: Perseus is about 11 million light-years across.

Clusters are made mainly of gas with temperatures higher than 100 million degrees Celsius – so hot it’s only observable through X-ray imagery.

Stephen Walker at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, says: “Perseus is one of the most massive nearby clusters and the brightest one in X-rays, so Chandra data provide us with unparalleled detail. The wave we’ve identified is associated with the flyby of a smaller cluster, which shows that the merger activity that produced these giant structures is still ongoing.”

By flying too close to Perseus’ core, a smaller cluster has disturbed the cooler gas in the center of the structure, which has then soared outwards generating a wave that will continue to roll around Perseus for hundreds of millions of years before it disintegrates.

The scientists say clusters like Perseus possibly experience merger events like this every few billion years. So astronomers even believe that it could be something related to alien or entirely something else. 

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