The Sculptor Superclusters

The superclusters in the Sculptor region of the sky are not obvious structures. This map is a plot of the brightest galaxies (from the Principal Galaxies Catalogue) in this region of the sky and although the locations of the main clusters are marked, the superclusters are hard to see. The Sculptor superclusters are important however because they are contained within a major wall of galaxies which sweeps through this region of the sky across nearly a billion light years of space.

The Sculptor Superclusters

Below is a list of the clusters in the two Sculptor superclusters. The nearest of the two superclusters is mainly within the constellation of Phoenix and so is perhaps best called the Phoenix supercluster. Note that the six clusters in this Phoenix supercluster are all of richness class zero. This means that none of them are impressive clusters. The second supercluster (which is mainly in Sculptor) does contain richer clusters but they are also much further away and harder to see.

   1         2       3        4         5       6      7  
 Abell       Equatorial    Redshift  Distance  Rich  Notes
 Number     Coordinates       z        Mly                
            RA       Dec                                  
 A2731    00 10.2  -56 59   .0300      415      0
 A2806    00 40.2  -56 10   .0265      365      0
 A2836    00 53.7  -47 37   .0288      395      0
 A2870    01 07.7  -46 55   .0225      310      0
 A2877    01 09.8  -45 54   .0235      325      0
 A2896    01 18.3  -37 06   .0306      420      0
 A2717    00 03.3  -35 57   .0478      650      1
 A4008    23 30.3  -39 19   .0537      730      1
 A4012    23 31.8  -33 49   .0498      680      0
 A4013    23 31.9  -35 16   .0488      665      1
 A4059    23 56.7  -34 40   .0463      630      1
Column 1: The name/number of the cluster.
Column 2: The Right Ascension for epoch 2000.
Column 3: The Declination for epoch 2000.
Column 4: The redshift of the cluster.
Column 5: The distance in millions of light years assuming H=70km/s/Mpc.
Column 6: The 'richness' class of the cluster.
Column 7: Additional names and notes.

Abell G, Corwin H, Olowin R, (1989), A catalogue of Rich Clusters of Galaxies, 
          Astrophys J Supp, 70, 1.
Struble M, Rood H, (1999), A compilation of redshifts and velocity dispersions for 
          ACO clusters, Astrophys J, 125, 35.

The Sculptor Wall

The map below is a slice of the universe which shows the Sculptor Wall. This map is a plot of 7400 bright galaxies (from the HyperLeda database) in the vicinity of the Sculptor Wall. Our galaxy is at the bottom and the top of the map is 800 million light years away. The red line shows the Sculptor Wall which is sometimes called the Southern Wall. The wall is faint beyond 500 million light years because the data is incomplete beyond that distance. Notice that the nearest part of the wall (the Phoenix supercluster) lies next to a large rectangular void. This is called the Sculptor Void, and it is one of the largest voids in the nearby universe.

The Sculptor Wall

The Scientific Study of the Sculptor Superclusters

The Sculptor wall was brought to the attention of astronomers by A Maurellis, A Fairall, D Matravers and G Ellis in 1990. They published a paper announcing their discovery of a major wall of galaxies lying between voids. The paper contains a map of the wall which only shows the nearest of the two superclusters.

Later, in 1994, da Costa, Geller, Pellegrini, Latham, Fairall, Marzke, Willmer, Huchra, Calderon, Ramella and Kurtz combined the surveys for the Coma and Sculptor superclusters in another paper. They published a map, which looks out into the universe in two directions and it shows the Coma wall at the top and the Sculptor wall at the bottom.

Below is a picture of the A2877 cluster, it is probably the most impressive of the clusters in these two superclusters because it is dominated by the giant elliptical galaxy IC 1633. This galaxy has a diameter greater than 270 000 light years and it rivals the two huge galaxies in the Coma cluster in terms of size and luminosity.

A2877 - from the Digitized Sky Survey
The nearest superclusters Back to the Neighbouring Superclusters page