WASHINGTON — X-ray observations made by the Suzaku observatory provide the clearest picture to date of the size, mass and chemical content of a nearby cluster of galaxies. The study also provides the first direct evidence that million-degree gas clouds are tightly gathered in the cluster’s outskirts. Suzaku is sponsored by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with contributions from NASA and participation by the international scientific community. The findings will appear in the March 25 issue of the journal Science. Galaxy clusters are millions of light-years across, and most of their normal matter comes in the form of hot X-ray-emitting gas that fills the space between the galaxies.
Suzaku (Japanese for “red bird of the south”) is the fifth Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite. It was launched as Astro-E2 on July 10, 2005, and renamed in orbit. The observatory was developed at JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in collaboration with NASA and other Japanese and U.S. institutions.
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