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The Nearest Galaxy Superclusters

The Nearest Galaxy Superclusters

The Nearest Galaxy Superclusters

Galaxy Superclusters usually consist of chains of around a dozen galaxy clusters, each with a mass of about ~ 1013 – 1014 solar masses. The largest superclusters can be spread over several million light years of space. Ninety percent of galaxies are thought to be located in them!
Virgo Supercluster: This is our Local Supercluster – it is called the Virgo Supercluster because it is dominated by the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. The cluster that is next richest in galaxies is the Fornax Cluster. For more information on the Virgo Cluster, see the Local Supercluster page.

Coma Supercluster: The two major galaxy clusters that dominate here are the Coma Cluster (Abell 1656) and the Leo Cluster (Abell 1367). The Coma Cluster image is copyright Duncan A. Forbes (Swinburne University, Australia). The Leo Cluster image is from the STScI Digitized Sky Survey.

Hydra Supercluster: The only galaxy-rich cluster in the Hydra Supercluster, is the Hydra Cluster (Abell 1060). It contains a similar number of galaxies to the Virgo Cluster. There are other smaller clusters too – the richest of these is the Antlia Cluster. The images of the Hydra and Antlia Clusters used were from the STScI Digitized Sky Survey.

Centaurus Supercluster: Because the plane of our own Galaxy cuts across the region of the sky that the Centaurus Supercluster is in, any images of galaxy clusters within it will have nearby foreground stars in it. The dominant cluster here is the Centaurus Cluster (Abell 3526); the image of it is from the STScI Digitized Sky Survey.

Perseus-Pices Supercluster: The Perseus-Pisces supercluster is made up of many galaxy clusters which form a long, dense wall which stretches almost 300 million light years. At one end of it is the Perseus Cluster (Abell 426), which is one of the most massive galaxy clusters within 500 million years of us. (This cluster is being used representatively on the Nearest Superclusters page.) Because of its structure, the Perseus-Pices Supercluster is perhaps the most obvious supercluster in the sky. It also lies near what is perhaps the most obvious void in the sky, called the Taurus Void. The Taurus void, 100 million light years in diameter, is large and circular, with walls of galaxies on either side of it. There are a few galaxies in it, however. Atlas of the Universe has a STScI Digitized Sky Survey image of two of the galaxies in this void, UGC2627 and UGC2629, which are 185 million light years away.
It is hard to give an exact distance for a supercluster, because the galaxy clusters within it are often millions of light years from each other!


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