West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday congratulated the team of Indian astronomers who identified a previously unknown, extremely large supercluster of galaxies christened "Saraswati" located in the direction of the constellation Pisces.
"Congratulations to Indian scientists for discovering #Saraswati Supercluster, largest structure in the Universe, size 60 Cr light years.Saraswati" river of galaxies found by team led by Joydeep Bagchi #IUCAAPune & Somak Raychaudhury (Presidency Univ & IUCAA) #BiswaBangla," she tweeted.
"Saraswati", one of the largest known structures in the nearby universe, is at a distance of 4,000 million light-years away from us, the astronomers said on Friday.
This discovery by astronomers from the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) - both in Pune - and members of two other Indian universities will be published in the forthcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society.
Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web.
A supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies.
This newly-discovered "Saraswati" supercluster, for instance, extends over a scale of 600 million light-years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.
The "Saraswati" supercluster is observed as it was when the universe was 10 billion years old.
Researchers from Newman College in Thodupuzha, Kerala, and the National Institute of Technology in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, were also involved in the research.