The New Biggest Structure In The Universe Is Too Large To Comprehend

An international team of scientists has discovered the biggest known structure in the universe — and it would take a vehicle travelling at the speed of light four billion years to cross it.

The structure is a large quasar group — a collection of supermassive black holes which form a single, massive structure — and it is huge. It's made up of 73 quasars, and is over four billion light-years across at its widest point. For some perspective, that distance is 1600 times larger than the distance between our galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy. Dr Clowes, one of the researchers on the projects, explains:

"While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this large quasar group, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe. This is hugely exciting — not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe.

"Even travelling at the speed of light, it would take 4 billion years to cross. This is significant not just because of its size but also because it challenges the Cosmological Principle."

The Cosmological Principle — the notion that "'viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers" — is bread and butter to astronomers. But structures of this scale raise problems of perspective that could throw the idea into question. Regardless of how Einstein's thinking stands up, though, this is an amazing — and mind-boggling — discovery. [Royal Astronomical Society]

Picture: ESO


Comments

    That's it . . . THEY ARE HIDING THE DEATH STAR BEHIND THAT THING!! Or ya know, just half the universe... INSANE!

      I instantly thought of the Maw cluster, I love being a nerd... *I'm so lonely*

        Didn't they only hide the prototype in the Maw? Then it was destroyed and they made the full on DS1?

    How do they measure something 4 billion light years across? My head hurts.

      I'd just use 4 billion one lightyear long rulers.

      at a guess, id say they work out how far away it is based on red shift, then measure the angle arc between the two sides. then its a matter of trigonometry to work out its width.

    We need warp speed NOW Mr Scott!

      I Just can't do it captin, i doont have the powerrr!

        Thats why Star Wars is better, they always have a "can do" attitude.

      I dont think that will help you much. They aren't even consistent with what the warp speeds are in the Trek Universe.
      For instance, 9.9 in Voyager could be 21,473* the Speed of light, but 9.975 is slower at 1721* the speed of light. (186,280yr vs 2,324,230yrs)

      In TOS 8.4 was 765,000 times the speed of light, which sounds the best from the list - and then, it would still take 5228yrs to cross :(
      http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Warp_factor

      Last edited 16/01/13 11:45 am

        Nerd time: the warp scale was recalibrated between TOS and TNG. The new scale is exponential rather than linear, which explains why the difference between 9.5 and 9.6 warp speed is a lot bigger than the difference between 1.5 and 1.6. END NERDING TIME.

          Of course - but even after that, their numbers weren't consistent, with 9.975 being slower than 0.4 within the VOY universe - according to Memory-Alpha, and those geeks are seldom wrong :P

            Oh yeah, there are inconsistencies. I can't access M-A from here but I've used it before and it's a great resource. I don't know if they mention it, but one of the explanations for why it's difficult to pinpoint a specific realspace speed for warp is because it varies based on space-time curvature.

            Basically, imagine a circle, bisected through the middle. You can measure the length of the curve as a fixed value, and you can measure the length of the bisection as a fixed value, but an object travelling along the bisection at a constant speed will appear to have a variable speed relative to the curve - faster at the beginning and end of the journey where the curve is at its steepest, and actual speed right in the middle, where the bisection and the line of the curve are parallel.

            A starship travelling at warp works the same way. It has a constant warp speed, but the translation of that warp speed to realspace speed changes - if spacetime is curved steeply, the speed will seem to be extremely high, but where spacetime is flat, the speed seems much slower.

              and of course, there's the whole Fluidic space and transwarp and travellers, and caretakers and Qs

    Sorry, but wouldn't the universe the the largest structure in the universe?

      Our Galaxy does not directly interact with other galaxies, there fore they aren't connected, which meant he "univers" isn't a structure in itself.

      That's like a house being the largest part of a house.

    Where can I get that picture to use as a desktop background?

      https://www.eso.org/public/archives/images/screen/eso1122a.jpg

    PUNCHING HOLES IN THE WALLS OF REALITY.

    - Big Pig

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