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Coma Cluster

The Coma Galaxy Cluster, listed as Abell 1656, is a regular cluster more than 350 million light years away from Earth in the constellation of Coma Berenices, near the north galactic pole. It is estimated that over 1000 galaxies are part of the Coma Cluster, making it very rich. Coma is nearly spherical and has a one-megaparsec diameter consisting mainly of elliptical and highly-flattened eliptical galaxies. These galaxies have been estimated to be approximately 15 billion years old.

Like other galaxy clusters, Coma's center consists of a diffuse cloud of hot gas which emits X-rays and is held by the cluster's gravity. The gas, which is invisible to the naked eye, was discovered in 1971 through X-ray observation.
Coma Cluster (enlarged)
Optical Image of Coma Cluster
Coma Cluster (enlarged)
Chandra X-ray Image of Coma Cluster


Next: Why study the coma cluster?

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