Caught in the act: 14 galaxies merging to form a massive protocluster core


In the background several bright, galaxy-like objects accompany the text. The video quickly cuts to the beginning of the galaxy cluster simulation. The time is indicated in Millions of years, starting at 0 and eventually counting up to 100 million years. The video starts by showing the 14 galaxies at the core of the galaxy cluster. They have continuous, fluid movement, and move closer together. At 75 million years, the galaxy movement stops, and the image rotates clockwise to provide a 3-dimensional view of the cluster. By nearly 200 million years, all galaxies have merged into one area, but the small elements of the galaxy cluster continue to move until the end of the video, but remain as one, amalgamated galaxy.

MP4 Format

Video transcript

On screen: Caught in the Act

On screen: 14 Galaxies Merging to Form a Massive Protocluster Core

On screen: Douglas Rennehan, Arif Babul, and Belaid Moa1
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria
1Westgrid/Compute Canada/University Systems

On screen: Christopher C. Hayward
Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute

On screen: Scott Chapman
Dept. of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria
Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre, National Research Council Canada

On screen: Phillip F. Hopkins
California Institute of Technology

On screen: The South Pole Telescope (SPT), in conjunction with observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), discovered a unique cosmic event of 14 galaxies packed in a region of space only three times the size of our Milky Way galaxy, taking place only 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang. This is SPT-2349.

On screen: SPT-2349 appears to be on the verge of forming a massive galaxy cluster core, and the SPT collaboration researchers estimate that the galaxies are forming stars 50 to 1000 times faster than our Milky-Way.

On screen: The following simulation shows one possible realization of the evolution of the cluster, for an additional 1 billion years after the observation.

On screen: Young stars are shown in blue, and older stars shown in red. Occasionally dust obscures the light from the stars during the collision.

On screen: University of Victoria, Dalhousie University, the University of British Columbia, the National Research Council Canada, the Flatiron Institute, and Caltech.

On screen: Simulation and visualization computed with: WestGrid and Compute Canada / Calcul Canada.