Thanks to the rapid development of technology, astronomersmake more and more interesting and incredible discoveries in the universe. For example, the title of “the largest object in the Universe” moves from one find to another almost every year. Some open objects are so huge that they confuse even the best scientists of our planet with the fact of their existence. Let's talk about the ten largest ones.
Relatively recently, scientists have discovered the mosta big cold spot in the universe. It is located in the southern part of the constellation Eridanus. With its length of 1.8 billion light years, this spot has puzzled scientists. They did not suspect that objects of this size may exist.
Despite the presence of the word "login" in the title (withEnglish "void" means "emptiness") the space here is not entirely empty. In this region of space, there are about 30 percent less clusters of galaxies than in the surrounding space. According to scientists, voids make up 50 percent of the volume of the Universe, and this percentage, in their opinion, will continue to grow due to superstrong gravity, which attracts all their surrounding matter.
In 2006, the title of the largest object inThe universe received a mysterious cosmic "bubble" (or blob, as scientists usually call them). True, this title he retained for long. This bubble of 200 million light years is a giant cluster of gas, dust and galaxies. With some reservations, this object looks like a giant green jellyfish. The object was discovered by Japanese astronomers when they studied one of the regions of space known for having a huge amount of cosmic gas.
Each of the three "tentacles" of this bubble containsgalaxies, which are located among themselves are four times denser than usual in the universe. The cluster of galaxies and gas balls inside this bubble are called Lyman Alpha bubbles. It is believed that these objects began to appear approximately 2 billion years after the Big Bang and are true relics of the ancient Universe. Scientists suggest that the bubble in question was formed when massive stars that existed in early space times suddenly became supernovae and threw huge volumes of gas into space. The object is so massive that scientists believe that, by and large, it is one of the first space objects formed in the Universe. According to theories, over time, more and more new galaxies will form from the gas accumulated here.
For many years, scientists believe that our galaxyThe Milky Way at a speed of 2.2 million kilometers per hour is attracted through the Universe somewhere in the direction of the constellation Centaurus. Astronomers suggest that the reason for this is the Great Attractor (Great Attractor), an object with such a force of gravity, which is enough to attract whole galaxies to itself. True, to find out what kind of object, scientists for a long time could not. Supposedly this object is located behind the so-called “zone of avoidance” (ZOA), a region in the sky covered by the Milky Way galaxy.
However, over time, X-ray came to the rescueastronomy. Its development allowed to look behind the ZOA area and find out what exactly is the cause of such a strong gravitational attraction. True, what scientists saw put them in an even greater dead end. It turned out that behind the ZOA area there is a usual cluster of galaxies. The dimensions of this cluster did not correlate with the force of gravitational attraction exerted on our galaxy. But, as soon as the scientists decided to look deeper into space, they soon discovered that our galaxy is being attracted towards an even larger object. It turned out to be the Shapley supercluster - the most massive supercluster of galaxies in the observable Universe.
Supercluster consists of more than 8000 galaxies. Its mass is about 10,000 more than the mass of the Milky Way.
Great Wall CfA2
Like most objects on this list, the GreatThe wall (also known as the Great Wall of CfA2) once also boasted the title of the largest known space object in the Universe. She was discovered by American astrophysicist Margaret Joan Geller and John Peter Hunroy while studying the redshift effect for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. According to scientists, its length is 500 million light years, the width is 300 million, and the thickness is 15 million light years.
The exact dimensions of the Great Wall are stillremain a mystery to scientists. It can be much more than is believed, and have a length of 750 million light years. The problem in determining the exact dimensions lies in the location of this gigantic structure. As in the case of the Shapley supercluster, the Great Wall is partially covered by the “avoidance zone”.
In general, this “avoidance zone” does not allowsee about 20 percent of the observed (reachable for today's telescopes) universe. It is located inside the Milky Way and is a dense accumulation of gas and dust (as well as a high concentration of stars), which greatly distort the observations. In order to look through the “avoidance zone”, astronomers have to use, for example, infrared telescopes, which allow them to break through another 10 percent of the “avoidance zone”. Through what infrared waves cannot break through, radio waves are breaking through, as well as near-infrared spectrum and X-rays. Nevertheless, the actual absence of the opportunity to consider such a large region of space somewhat frustrates scientists. The “zone of avoidance” may contain information that can fill in the gaps in our knowledge of space.
Galaxies are usually grouped together. These groups are called clusters. Regions of space, where these clusters are more densely located among themselves, are called superclusters. Earlier, astronomers carried out mapping of these objects by determining their physical location in the Universe, but recently a new way of mapping local space was invented. This allowed us to shed light on information that was previously unavailable.
New local mapping principlespace and its galaxies are not based on the calculation of the location of objects, but on observations of the indicators of the gravitational effect exerted by objects. Thanks to a new method, the location of galaxies is determined and on the basis of this a map is drawn of the distribution of gravity in the Universe. Compared to the old ones, the new method is more advanced, because it allows astronomers not only to mark new objects in the visible Universe, but also to find new objects in places where it has not been possible to look.
First results from a local cluster studygalaxies using the new method revealed a new supercluster. The importance of this study lies in the fact that it will allow us to better understand where our place in the universe is. It was previously believed that the Milky Way is inside the Virgo supercluster, but the new research method shows that this region is only part of the Laniakea, one of the largest objects in the Universe. It extends over 520 million light years, and we are somewhere inside it.
Great Wall of Sloan
For the first time, the Great Wall of Sloan was discovered in2003 as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project - a scientific mapping of hundreds of millions of galaxies, to identify the largest objects in the Universe. The Great Wall of Sloan is a giant galactic filament consisting of several superclusters. They are like the tentacles of a giant octopus distributed in all directions of the universe. Due to its length of 1.4 billion light years, the “wall” was once considered the largest object in the universe.
The Great Wall of Sloan itself is not as studied assuperclusters that are inside it. Some of these superclusters are interesting in their own right and deserve special mention. One, for example, has a nucleus of galaxies, which together look like giant antennae. Inside another supercluster, there is a high gravitational interaction between galaxies - many of them are now undergoing a period of confluence.
The presence of the "wall" and any other largerObjects creates new questions about the mysteries of the universe. Their existence contradicts the cosmological principle, which theoretically limits how large objects in the Universe can be. According to this principle, the laws of the universe do not allow objects of more than 1.2 billion light-years to exist. However, objects like the Great Wall of Sloan completely contradict this view.
Quasars group Huge-LQG7
Quasars are high energyastronomical objects located in the center of galaxies. It is believed that the center of quasars are supermassive black holes, which attract the surrounding matter. This leads to a huge emission of radiation, the energy of which is 1000 times greater than the energy produced by all the stars inside the galaxy. At the moment, in the third place among the largest structural objects in the Universe is the group of quasars Huge-LQG, consisting of 73 quasars scattered over 4 billion light years. Scientists believe that such a massive group of quasars, as well as similar ones, is one of the reasons for the emergence of the largest structural in the Universe, such as, for example, the Great Wall of Sloan.
A group of quasars Huge-LQG was discovered afteranalysis of the same data by which the Great Wall of Sloan was discovered. Scientists have determined its presence after mapping one of the regions of space using a special algorithm that measures the density of the location of quasars on a particular area.
It should be noted that the very existence of Huge-LQGstill subject to controversy. Some scientists believe that this region of space really represents a single group of quasars, other scientists are confident that the quasars within this area of space are randomly located and are not part of one group.
Giant gamma ring
Stretching 5 billion light yearsThe giant galactic gamma ring (Giant GRB Ring) is the second largest object in the universe. In addition to the incredible size, this object attracts attention due to its unusual shape. Astronomers, studying the bursts of gamma rays (huge energy emissions, which are formed as a result of the death of massive stars), found a series of nine bursts, whose sources were at the same distance from the Earth. These bursts formed a ring in the sky, 70 times the diameter of the full moon. Given that gamma-ray bursts themselves are quite rare, the chance that they will form a similar shape in the sky is 1 to 20,000. This allowed scientists to assume that they are witnesses of one of the largest structural objects in the Universe. .
The “ring” itself is just a termdescribing the visual representation of this phenomenon when viewed from the Earth. According to one of the assumptions, the giant gamma ring may be a projection of a certain sphere around which all gamma radiation emissions occurred in a relatively short period of time of about 250 million years. True, the question here is what the source could have created such a sphere. One explanation is related to the assumption that galaxies can gather in groups around a huge concentration of dark matter. However, this is only a theory. Scientists still do not know how such structures are formed.
Great Wall Hercules - Northern Crown
The largest structural object in the universewas also discovered by astronomers in the framework of monitoring gamma radiation. This object, called the Great Wall of Hercules - Northern Crown, extends 10 billion light-years, which makes it twice the size of the Giant galactic gamma ring. Since the brightest bursts of gamma radiation produce larger stars, usually located in areas of space where there is more matter, astronomers each time metaphorically consider each such burst as a needle thrust into something larger. When scientists discovered that gamma-ray bursts too often occur in the space region in the direction of the constellations Hercules and Northern Crown, they determined that there is an astronomical object, which is most likely a dense concentration of galactic clusters and other matter.
Interesting fact: the name "Great Wall Hercules - Northern Crown" was coined by the Filipino teenager who wrote it down in Wikipedia (anyone who wants it can edit this electronic encyclopedia). Shortly after the news that astronomers discovered a huge structure in the cosmic sky, an article appeared on the pages of Wikipedia. Despite the fact that the invented name does not quite accurately describe this object (the wall covers several constellations at once, and not just two), the global Internet quickly got used to it. Perhaps this is the first time that “Wikipedia” has given the name of the object discovered and interesting from a scientific point of view.
Since the very existence of this “wall” also contradicts the cosmological principle, scientists have to revise some of their theories about how the Universe actually formed.
Scientists believe that the expansion of the universedoes not happen randomly. There are theories according to which all the galaxies of space are organized into one structure of unbelievable size, resembling filamentous joints, uniting dense regions among themselves. These threads are scattered between less dense voids. Scientists call this structure the Cosmic Web.
According to scientists, the web was formed on a veryearly stages of the history of the universe. Initially, the formation of the web was unstable and heterogeneous, which subsequently helped the formation of all that is now in the Universe. It is believed that the "threads" of this web played a big role in the evolution of the Universe - they accelerated it. It is noted that the galaxies that are inside these filaments have a significantly higher star formation. In addition, these filaments are a kind of bridge for the gravitational interaction between galaxies. After their formation inside these filaments, the galaxies are sent to galactic clusters, where they eventually die.
Only recently have scientists begun to understand whatreally is this cosmic web. Studying one of the distant quasars, the researchers noted that their radiation affects one of the strands of the Cosmic Web. The light of the quasar headed straight for one of the strands, which heated up the gases in it and made them glow. Based on these observations, scientists were able to imagine the distribution of threads among other galaxies, thereby creating a picture of the "skeleton of space".