Hitomi mission finds a quiet space in the heart of the Perseus cluster

Wed, 07/06/2016

In its brief time gathering data this year, the Hitomi X-ray Observatory discovered something quite serene: the calm core in a massive cluster of galaxies.

Scientists from the international Hitomi mission report July 6 in the journal Nature that a “remarkably quiescent atmosphere” exists at the heart of the Perseus cluster, located in the constellation Perseus. The new information, obtained with an innovative Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), gives astronomers fresh insight into the dynamics of the hot, flowing gas that pervades galaxy clusters and other important astrophysical phenomena.

Yale played a prominent role in the project. Andrew Szymkowiak, a Yale senior research scientist in astronomy and physics, was a key member of the SXS development team over the past 30 years. Meg Urry, Yale’s Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy; Paolo Coppi, professor of astronomy and physics; and Szymkowiak are co-authors of the new study. The principal investigator is Tadayuki Takahashi of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo.

This article is excerpted from the Yale University Press Release by Jim Shelton

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