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Astronomers discover a giant cosmic structure: it violates the laws of cosmology

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Space hides many more secrets that humanity does not understand

At a distance of about nine billion light-years from the Earth, there is a so-called cosmic megastructure in the form of a huge ring. It is so large that its existence is simply impossible and challenges our understanding of the universe.

This is stated in the study, the details of which are described by The Guardian. The unpublished study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The structure, known as the "Big Ring," is a dizzying 1.3 billion light-years in diameter. Scientists estimate that the entire Universe we observe is 94 billion light-years across, and the largest known galaxy is "only" 16 million light-years across. If this ring could be seen in the night sky with the naked eye, its diameter would be equal to fifteen full moons.

The Big Ring and the Giant Arc

"According to current cosmological theories, we didn't think structures of this scale were possible. We would expect perhaps one extremely large structure in our entire observable Universe," said Alexia Lopez, curator of the study, an astronomer at the University of Central Lancashire in England.

Earlier, she managed to discover another cosmic megastructure called the Giant Arc.

Despite the fact that there can't be many such structures, scientists see something completely different. The largest and most visible of these structures is the Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall, a superstructure of galaxies believed to be 10 billion light-years across.

These megastructures violate the so-called cosmological principle that the universe should be homogeneous on a large scale. Based on this understanding, nothing larger than 1.2 billion light-years across should exist. This is because, among other reasons, the Universe is not old enough to have formed them.

To find the Big Ring, Lopez analyzed data on quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These extremely bright objects helped to identify distant and hidden galaxies. Lopez then applied a statistical algorithm to these galaxies to identify potential structures, yielding data on the Big Ring.

Lopez acknowledges that this discovery alone is not enough to overturn our understanding of cosmology, but astronomers cannot ignore the existence of these megastructures forever.

"These strangenesses continue to be swept under the rug, but the more we find, the more we have to face the fact that maybe our standard (cosmological) model needs to be rethought," Lopez said.

She warns that modern cosmology is "at least incomplete" and that it is possible that "we need a completely new theorem of cosmology."

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