Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretch 4 billion light-years from end to end. The structure is a light quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous Galactic Nulcei powered by supermassive central black holes.
So that’s cool and everything, but maybe some of you would be interested to know why this is a significant find? Beyond just its record-setting bigness.
Since Einstein, physicists have accepted something called the Cosmological Principle, which states that the universe looks the same everywhere if you view it on a large enough scale. You might find some weird shit over here, and some other freaky shit over there, but if you pull back the camera far enough, you’ll find that same weird and/or freaky shit cropping up over and over again in a fairly regular distribution. This is because the universe is (probably) infinite in size and (we are pretty darn sure) has, and has always had, the same forces acting on it everywhere.
So why is this new LQG so radical? (It stands for ‘Large Quasar Group,’ btw, not ‘Light Quasar Group.’)
Well, let’s try to comprehend the scale we’re dealing with. A ‘megaparsec,’ written Mpc, is about 3.2 million light years long. The Milky Way is about 0.03 Mpc across (or 100,000 light years). The distance between our galaxy and Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor, is 0.75 Mpc, or 2.5 million light years. LQGs are usually about 200 Mpc across. Assuming a logarithmic distribution of weird shit outliers (if you don’t know how logarithmic distribution curves work, don’t worry about it), cosmologists predicted that nothing in the universe should be more than 370 Mpc across.
This new LQG is 1200 Mpc long. That’s four billion light years. Four BILLION LIGHT YEARS. Just to travel from one side to the other of this one thing. I mean for fuck’s sake, the universe is only about 14 billion years old! How many of these things could there be?
Right now it looks like the Cosmological Principle might be out the window, unless physicists can find some way to make the existence of this new LQG work with the math (and boy, are they trying). And that’s totally baffling. It would mean—well, we don’t have any idea what it would mean. That the universe isn’t essentially uniform? That some ‘special’ physics apply/applied in some places but not in others? That Something Happened that is totally outside our current ability to understand or quantify stuff happening?
By the way, no one lives there. The radiation from so many quasars would sterilize rock.
are you telling us astronomers have discovered something which is literally fucktuple the size of anything else previously estimated to exist
Anything that fucking rewrites all of what we know about the universe needs to get its ass on my blog. It’s giant, glowy, black hole filled ass.
The gods know what you’ve done.
this is the funniest shit i’ve seen for like 3 years
games that let u edit ur character even after the character creation screen
idc how powerful a piece of armor if its ugly im not gonna wear it
Growing up, my most fond memories was visiting abandoned places with my brother. To this day, if opportunity presents itself, I bring my camera and take a few pictures. These are not my work ofcourse, but I hope you enjoy the visual beauty and maybe it brings fond memories of your own adventures.
- Abandoned Construction of Nuclear Power Plant. Photo By brokenview
- Chatillon Car Graveyard in Belgium
- Jiancing Historic Trail in Taipingshan National Forest in Taiwan. Photo By T.-C
- Abandoned theme park in nara dreamland, japan. Photo by michaeljohngrist
- Clock tower
- Old shack in a snow field, Idaho. Photo By James Neeley
- Abandoned terminal at Nicosia Airport. Photo By eyesfutur
- Milan, New Orleans. Photo By JustUptown
- Abandoned church in autumn. Photo by *CainPascoe
- Abanonded steam engine in Uyuni train cemetery, Bolivia. Photo By jimmyharris
It’s so much easier to see the world in black and white. Gray? I don’t know what to do with gray.