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Dark Flow

Distant galaxy clusters mysteriously stream at a million miles per hour along a path roughly centered on the southern constellations Centaurus and Hydra. A new study led by Alexander Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., tracks this collective motion -- dubbed the "dark flow" -- to twice the distance originally reported, out to more than 2.5 billion light-years.

The study used a new technique to determine the motion of X-ray-emitting galaxy clusters. The clusters appear to be moving along a line extending from our solar system toward Centaurus/Hydra, but the direction of this motion is less certain. Evidence indicates that the clusters are headed outward along this path, away from Earth, but the team cannot yet rule out the opposite flow.

The video shows the team's catalog of galaxy clusters separated into four "slices" representing different distance ranges. A colored ellipse shows the flow axis for the clusters within each slice. While the size and exact position of the ellipses vary, the overall trends show remarkable agreement. The video includes images of representative clusters in each distance slice.

The dark flow is controversial because the distribution of matter in the observed universe cannot account for it. Its existence suggests that some structure beyond the visible universe -- outside our "horizon" -- is pulling on matter in our vicinity.

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More information on this topic available at:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/releases/2010/10-023.html

Video showing direction of travel of galaxy clusters at four distances from Earth.  The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown. Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.    Video showing direction of travel of galaxy clusters at four distances from Earth. The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.
Duration: 1.2 minutes
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  1280x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-2   49 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) QT         28 MB
  960x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   20 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         17 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) MPEG-4   16 MB
  640x360 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   8 MB
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This all-sky view of the entire near-infrared sky reveals the distribution of galaxies beyond the Milky Way and has been desaturated to serve as the background for the dark flow plots. The image is derived from the 2MASS Extended Source Catalog, which contains more than 1.5 million galaxies, and the Point Source Catalog, which holds nearly 500 million stars within the Milky Way. The galaxies are color coded for distances obtained by various surveys. The nearest sources are blue (redshifts less than 0.01), moderately distant sources (redshifts between 0.01 and 0.04) are green, and red represents the farthest sources that 2MASS resolves (between redshifts of 0.04 and 0.1). For a labeled version that identifies specific features, please see http://spider.ipac.caltech.edu/staff/jarrett/papers/LSS/2MASS_LSS_chart-NEW.jpg . Credit: Courtesy of Dr. T.H. Jarrett (IPAC/Caltech)    This all-sky view of the entire near-infrared sky reveals the distribution of galaxies beyond the Milky Way and has been desaturated to serve as the background for the dark flow plots. The image is derived from the 2MASS Extended Source Catalog, which contains more than 1.5 million galaxies, and the Point Source Catalog, which holds nearly 500 million stars within the Milky Way. The galaxies are color coded for distances obtained by various surveys. The nearest sources are blue (redshifts less than 0.01), moderately distant sources (redshifts between 0.01 and 0.04) are green, and red represents the farthest sources that 2MASS resolves (between redshifts of 0.04 and 0.1). For a labeled version that identifies specific features, please see http://spider.ipac.caltech.edu/staff/jarrett/papers/LSS/2MASS_LSS_chart-NEW.jpg.

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. T.H. Jarrett (IPAC/Caltech)

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   "Dark flow" galaxy clusters and flow direction by distance.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.

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The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown. Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.    The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.

Available formats:
  4369 x 2803     JPEG       3 MB


The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown. Unlabeled. Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.    The colored dots are clusters within one of four distance ranges, with redder colors indicating greater distance. Colored ellipses show the axis of bulk motion for clusters of the corresponding color. Images of representative galaxy clusters in each distance slice are also shown. Unlabeled.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/A. Kashlinsky et al.

Available formats:
  4369 x 2803     JPEG       3 MB


Coma Galaxy Cluster, redshift 0.023. The Coma Galaxy Cluster, also known as Abell 1656, is more than 300 million light-years away and is named for its parent constellation, Coma Berenices. It is one of the closest clusters participating in the dark flow. Credit: Jim Misti (Misti Mountain Observatory)    Coma Galaxy Cluster, redshift 0.023. The Coma Galaxy Cluster, also known as Abell 1656, is more than 300 million light-years away and is named for its parent constellation, Coma Berenices. It is one of the closest clusters participating in the dark flow.

Credit: Jim Misti (Misti Mountain Observatory)

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Abell 667, redshift 0.145. Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey    Abell 667, redshift 0.145.

Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

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Abell 1689, redshift 0.181. Credit: NASA/ESA/L. Bradley (JHU) et al.    Abell 1689, redshift 0.181.

Credit: NASA/ESA/L. Bradley (JHU) et al.

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Abell 520, redshift 0.203. Credit: CFHT/UVic./A.Mahdavi et al.    Abell 520, redshift 0.203.

Credit: CFHT/UVic./A.Mahdavi et al.

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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10580
Animation Number:10580
Completed:2010-03-02
Animator:Scott Wiessinger (UMBC) (Lead)
Producer:Scott Wiessinger (UMBC)
Writer:Francis Reddy (SPSYS)
Platform/Sensor/Data Set:WMAP
Series:Astrophysics Visualizations
 Astrophysics Stills
 Astrophysics Features
Goddard TV Tape:G2010-139 -- Various Small Astrophysics projects
Please give credit for this page to NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. However, each image should be credited as indicated above.
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Galaxy
SVS >> HDTV
DLESE >> Space science
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> WMAP
SVS >> Universe
SVS >> Dark Flow
SVS >> Galaxy Cluster
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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