Astronomers discover largest known structure in the universe

Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:19pm EST

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe - a group of quasars so large it would take 4 billion years to cross it while traveling at speed of light.

The immense scale also challenges Albert Einstein's Cosmological Principle, the assumption that the universe looks the same from every point of view, researchers said.

The findings by academics from Britain's University of Central Lancashire were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reported on the society's website on Friday.

Quasars are believed to be the brightest objects in the universe, with light emanating from the nuclei of galaxies from the early days of the universe and visible billions of light-years away.

"Since 1982 it has been known that quasars tend to group together in clumps or 'structures' of surprisingly large sizes, forming large quasar groups or LQGs," the society said.

This newly discovered large quasar group has a dimension of 500 megaparsecs, each megaparsec measuring 3.3 million light-years.

Because the LQG is elongated, its longest dimension is 1,200 megaparsecs, or 4 billion light-years, the society said.

That size is 1,600 times larger than the distance from Earth's Milky Way to the nearest galaxy, the Andromeda.

"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," Roger Clowes, leader of the research team, said in a statement. "This is hugely exciting - not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe."

Clowes said the team would continue to investigate the phenomenon with particular interest in the challenge to the Cosmological Principle, which has been widely accepted since Einstein, whose work still forms the basis for much of modern cosmology.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Gary Hill)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (3)
morbas wrote:
Cosmological Principle:
1) the Universe looks the same from all points within.
2) looks the same applies to physical laws.
3) variation in physical structures can be overlooked that do not challenge isotropic physical laws.

This article failed to specify physical laws that are different in LQG space versus other space. Quasars older than the universe challenge BB, but is that implied?

Jan 12, 2013 2:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
B.T.See wrote:
I believe supergreat anti-gravity forces must be acted in this supermassive and supergiant structure. There is only one flaw of Einstein’s Cosmological Principle, i.e. he forgot to take consideration and calculation about anti-gravity forces which he assumed firmly (but nobody else believe anti-gravity forces at his time)

Jan 16, 2013 3:39am EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:
Off topic but if you would please,
B.T.See (previous comment): “The ultimate challange for a complete quantum physics law is how to combine the Theory of General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics.”
With a quantization property of the Proton that induces field(s) which defines electron particle. A particle is a quantum of mass of energy. Buckmister Fuller defined a nucleus as a core of neutrons bound by a tight plasma of protons. My further analysis, the neutron transforms with the proton whose difference is the eleventh frequency (neutron) VE minus seven vertexes (proton). Proton field causality satisfies absolute universal positive vs negative charge equality.
Could you provide a link to the anti-gravity force theorum?

Jan 16, 2013 9:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.