According to the standard model of stellar evolution, most galaxy cluster are thought to be ‘red and dead’, meaning that they have long since stopped producing new stars.  Some galaxy clusters are also believed to go through a cooling phase which could produce new stars and blue light instead of red.  For example, the Milky Way galaxy where we reside produces one, sometimes two new stars per year.

Galaxy clusters are generally thought to have a black hole centrally located, causing the cluster to be red and dead.  In addition to the massive gravitational pull into the black holes, they also produce tremendous jets of energy that keep the surrounding gases heated up and distant from the black hole.  Many astronomers refer to this as the tussle between a black hole and the material that surrounds it.

With this evolutionary paradigm on stellar formation, scientists were completely shocked and surprised to discover that one galaxy cluster is producing up to 740 new stars each year.  Located over five billion light years away, the galaxy cluster officially known as SPT-CLJ2344-4243, is more commonly referred to as the Phoenix cluster and is pumping out new stars faster than anyone has ever believed possible.  Instead of being red and dead, it’s blue and new.

The rapid formation of new stars was first detected using the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica.  Further observations to confirm the initial observations were made using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and then ten additional telescopes located in various locations on earth.

Michael McDonald from MIT described what they found saying:

Not only is it the most X-ray luminous cluster in the Universe, but the central, most massive galaxy is forming stars at an unmatched rate.

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The researchers theorize that the black hole of the central most galaxy in the Phoenix cluster are not producing as much energy as most black holes do which is allowing the surrounding gases to cool and form new stars.  Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal in the United Kingdom commented on the tussle going on in the Phoenix cluster, saying:

It’s not able to hold that infall of gas at bay, and this gas is falling in and forming stars.

That’s a very extreme phenomenon, that’s what’s so special about this system. This is a fascinating step toward putting this picture together of the tussle.

Some evolutionists are thinking that they may be witnessing a phase of stellar evolution they thought had ended billions of years ago and in typical evolutionary fashion, they are scurrying to formulated new theories about what is going on.

As I read the news, I couldn’t help but wonder if God created this cluster on purpose to thwart the minds of men and show them that He is the Creator of heaven and earth.  The verse that comes to mind here is Psalm 147:4-5:

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

References:

Galaxy cluster’s ‘starburst’ surprises astronomers, BBC News, Aug. 15, 2012.

Scientists Stunned by Galaxy Cluster That Births 700 Stars a Year, Slate, Aug. 16, 2012.

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