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Shapley Supercluster facts for kids

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Shapley Supercluster
A map of the Shapley Supercluster
Observation data (Epoch J2000)
Constellation(s) Centaurus
Right ascension 13h 25m
Declination -30° 0′ 0″
200 Mpc (652 Mly)
Other designations
Shapley Concentration, SCl 124

The Shapley Supercluster or Shapley Concentration (SCl 124) is the largest concentration of galaxies in our nearby universe that forms a gravitationally interacting unit, thereby pulling itself together instead of expanding with the universe. It appears as a striking overdensity in the distribution of galaxies in the constellation of Centaurus. It is 650 million light-years away (z=0.046).


In the late 1920s, Harlow Shapley and his colleagues at the Harvard College Observatory started a survey of galaxies in the southern sky, using photographic plates obtained at the 24-inch Bruce telescope at Bloemfontein, South Africa. He found a 'cloud' in the constellation of Centaurus to be the most striking concentration of galaxies.

In recent times, the Shapley Supercluster was rediscovered, in a survey of galaxies of galaxies at the University of Cambridge in England. In this paper, the supercluster was named after Shapley, in recognition of his pioneering survey of galaxies in which this concentration of galaxies was first seen. Around the same time, others had noticed a remarkable concentration of clusters in the Abell catalogue of galaxy clusters: they had named it the Alpha concentration.

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