Astronomers announced today that they had discovered the largest known structure in the universe and its measurements are beyond comprehension.
Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, using data taken from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, were able to spot the immensity that is a large quasar group (LQG) that stretches four billion light years across, making it the largest structure in the universe. LQGs are groups of quasars, which are known to be the brightest objects in space and also known to clump together, forming LQGs such as this, the largest structure in the universe. Although previously LQGs have been noted to be as large as 600 million light years from end to end, this LQG defies even the tenets of physics, contradicting Einstein’s Cosmological Theory, being four billion light years across.
Publishing their findings in the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the British researchers wrote that the newly discovered LQG comprises some 73 quasars and is itself spread across 1.6 billion light years in any direction, but at its widest point, it is four billion light years from end to end. And what is more astonishing about the LQG is that according to the Cosmological Principal, the structure itself should not exist, as the principal requires that there be homogeneity in observing the universe on a large scale. Calculations have also suggested that celestial structures larger than 1.2 billion light years shouldn’t exist, but the LQG defies this as well and researchers will now be hard-pressed to explain how such an LQG came into existence and why it is in defiance of conventional science.
Speaking about the LQG and its discovery, lead author Roger Clowes said in a statement, "While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, 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."
Putting into perspective the sheer size of the LQG, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is only 100,000 light years across, making the LQG, 1,600 hundred times larger. Prof. Clowes said, “Our team has been looking at similar cases which add further weight to this challenge, and we will be continuing to investigate these fascinating phenomena.”