UK team discovers largest structure in the universe

rogerAn international team led by academics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has found the largest known structure in the universe.

And No,  it isn’t Stephen Harper’s head.

“The large quasar group (LQG) is so large that it would take a spacecraft travelling at the speed of light some 4 billion years to cross it,” says the University going on:

“Quasars are galaxies from the early days of the universe that undergo brief periods of extremely high brightness that make them visible across huge distances. These periods are ‘brief’ in astrophysics terms but actually last 10-100 million years.

“Since 1982 it has been know that quasars tend to group together in clumps or ‘structures’ of surprisingly large sizes, forming large quasar groups or LQGs.

“The team, led by Dr Roger Clowes from UCLan’s Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, has identified the LQG which is so significant in size it also challenges the Cosmological Principle. The Cosmological Principle is the assumption that the universe, when viewed at a sufficiently large scale, looks the same no matter where you are observing it from.”

To,  “give some sense of scale, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is separated from its nearest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy, by about 2.5 million light-years, says the University, adding.

“Whole clusters of galaxies can be 6-10 million light years across but LQGs can be 650 million light years or more across. Although, based on the Cosmological Principle and the modern theory of cosmology, calculations suggest that astrophysicists should not be able to find a structure larger than 1.2 billion light years.

“However, Dr Clowes’ discovery has a typical dimension of 1.6 billion light years. But because it is elongated, its longest dimension is 4 billion light years – that is some 1,650 times larger than the distance from the Milky Way to Andromeda.”

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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