The Chandra X-ray Observatory of NASA has allowed astronomers to analyze a huge cosmic “cold front” leaving behind the Perseus galaxies cluster, located at about 240 million light-years away from Earth. In an article published in Nature Astronomy, scientists have reconstructed the profile and the magnetic field that this “wave” could have generated.
What is this “cold front”?
This is basically a band of super hot gas, with an extension of two million light years and an antiquity of 5,000 million years, which leaves the accumulation of Perseus galaxies as if it were a huge “cosmic tsunami”.
This front can be seen in the image above, made with the X-ray observations of several telescopes.
There, we see a clear band representing a gas front that leaves the center of the Perseus cluster at a speed of almost 500,000 kilometers per hour. It is said to be a cold front because, although it is 30 million degrees Celsius, the environment is even hotter, at about 80 million degrees.
How did this cosmic “cold front” form?
On Earth, a “cold front” is forming due to the rotation of the planet around its own axis. But at a galactic level, in the lack of any atmosphere, this kind of cosmic” cold front” can only form after a collision between two galaxies clusters.
In our case, Perseus galaxies cluster have collided with another smaller cluster, which has been attracted by the bigger gravitational force of the Perseus cluster. Because the smaller cluster passed close to the Perseus galaxies cluster’s center, the released gravitational forces of the collision caused the gas particles from the center of Perseus to expand causing this cosmic “cold front”.
The cosmic “cold front” passes through a tough environment
As this cosmic “cold front” advances within the Perseus galaxies cluster, it faces a very tough environment full of sound waves and gravitational forces caused by the bursts emitted by the gigantic supermassive black hole in the center of Perseus. However, the cosmic “cold front” kept its form and the astronomers could observe it intact.