Huge-LQG: Astronomers Find Largest Structure in the Universe

Posted on January 19, 2013

Huge LQG

A team of astronomers, led by Dr Roger Clowes and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), have reported finding the largest known structure in the universe. The astronomers say the large quasar group (LQG), named Huge-LQG, is so mindboggingly big that it would take a vehicle traveling at the speed of light about 4 billion years to cross it. The LQG has a dimension of 500 Mpc, which is 1600 times larger than the distance from the Milky Way to Andromeda. The Huge-LQG (73 quasars in length) is indicated by black circles in the above image and the smaller, but still enormous, CCLQG (34 quasars) is in red.

Dr. Clowes says the object is so enormous that it challenges Einstein's Cosmological Principle, which is an assumption that the universe, when viewed on a large enough scale, looks the same no matter where you are observing it from.

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. Even travelling at the speed of light, it would take 4 billion years to cross. This is significant not just because of its size but also because it challenges the Cosmological Principle, which has been widely accepted since Einstein. 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."

Image: Dr Roger G. Clowes/University of Central Lancashire

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