Case of the Missing Galaxies

Video Player

Video Versions


Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Video imagery:

·       Multi-wavelength image of galaxy 3C 297: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Torino/V. Missaglia et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI & International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA; Infrared: NASA/ESA/STScI; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF
·        X-ray image of galaxy 3C 297: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Torino/V. Missaglia et al.

Music from Music for Non-Profits


A collage of photos from outerspace. Text, News from the Universe. March 17, 2023. Case of the missing galaxies. A photo shows a black background with a blurry purple light cluster in the center. In the center is a hot pink diagonal blurred line with pink lights on either end. Around the blurry purple cluster are smaller dots of light in bright blue, orange and purple. 
Text, Astronomers have found a distant galaxy that should be part of a cluster of about a dozen galaxies. But it's all alone. X-rays reveal the lone galaxy is surrounded by large amounts of gas at tens of millions of degrees, something normally seen in galaxy clusters. 
Jets driven by the lone galaxy's supermassive black hole are clearly interacting with a dense surrounding environment, also typical of a cluster. A white arrow points to the pink light at the top of the slanted line. It is labeled, Jet impacting gas. Another arrow points to the hot pink slanted line. It's labeled, Jet. Another arrow labeled Jet points to a pair of parallel dotted lines are coming down and curving to the left from the bottom pink light that's at the bottom of the slanted hot pink line. 
Text, What happened to the cluster of galaxies? Astronomers think that one galaxy was so massive that its gravitational pull brought all the others in to merge with it, and we are seeing the end stage of that process. 
Existing just 4.6 billion years after the big bang, this discovery challenges theories about how quickly galaxies and galaxy clusters formed and evolved in the early universe. 
This news was brought to you in part by the Chandra X-Ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.