Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Universe's Largest Structure is a Cosmic Conundrum


Artist's impression of a gamma-ray burst -- by tracking these powerful explosions the distribution of matter throughout the Cosmos can be traced.

Astronomers have found a mind-bogglingly large structure -- so big it takes light 10 billion years to traverse -- in a distant part of the universe.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is about to release 3-D maps of galaxies, quasars and other celestial bodies.
Jan Tyler/E+/Getty Images
The discovery poses a conundrum to a fundamental tenet of modern cosmology, which posits that matter should appear to be distributed uniformly if viewed at a large enough scale.
NEWS: Scientists Discover Universe's Largest Structure
The newly found structure is more than double the size of the previous record-holder, a cluster of 73 quasars referred to as the Huge-LQG, or Large Quasar Group, which spans 4 billion light-years. It is six times larger than the 1.4-billion-light year diameter Sloan Great Wall.
Light travels at about 671 million miles per hour, or about 6 trillion miles per year.
Scientists found the new structure by mapping the locations of gamma ray bursts. These fleeting, but high-energy outbursts are believed to be caused by exploding massive stars.
"It's a great tracer of where something was," astronomer Jon Hakkila, with the College of Charleston in South Carolina, told Discovery News.

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