Author Topic: The Official Space and Astronomy Thread v. Well, this is weird.  (Read 50105 times)

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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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I just make this the official space and astronomy thread to make it easier for future posts in similar topic. I hope that's OK?  :)

“The lifetime of a human being is measured by decades, the lifetime of the Sun is a hundred million times longer. Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their lives in the course of a single day.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos



Quote
An international team of astronomers, led by academics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has found the largest known structure in the universe. The large quasar group (LQG) is so large that it would take a vehicle travelling at the speed of light some 4 billion years to cross it. The team publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

"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."

http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/224-news-2013/2212-astronomers-discover-the-largest-structure-in-the-universe


Holy cow!  :omg:
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 07:32:29 AM by MrBoom_shack-a-lack »
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Offline Sigz

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 03:12:55 PM »
1) That's incredible.

2)
Quote
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."

Huh?
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Offline kári

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 03:31:31 PM »
The cosmological principle states something like the universe is the same in all directions, no matter where you look at or where in the universe you're looking from.
This is of course not really true if there is a structure that is possibly a significant size of the universe itself.

Also you shouldn't look at this as one giant galaxy or anything. I think it's more like a collection of a collection of a collection of galaxies, of which are "bound together" by gravitational force.

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Offline Ħ

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 03:38:17 PM »
The cosmological principle states something like the universe is the same in all directions, no matter where you look at or where in the universe you're looking from.
This is of course not really true if there is a structure that is possibly a significant size of the universe itself.
Could you elaborate on this a little more?
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Offline kári

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 03:50:13 PM »
Not really, partly because I'm not that familiar with cosmology and partly because that's really all there is to it as you can read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_principle .

What I mean is this: Imagine that the universe is of finite size and there is a hypothetical structure spanning about 1/10 of the total size of the universe. Let's say the structure defines galaxies moving towards each other. In such a universe the cosmological principle does not hold since the universe itself will appear different when you are inside this structure (you will see everything moving towards each other if the structure is larger than the observable universe) than when you are on the outside of it.

I think that's what it means when this big "structure" possibly challenges the cosmological principle.

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Offline SomeoneLikeHim

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 03:50:24 PM »
This is incredible, stuff like this blows my mind.
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Offline Jirpo

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 03:56:25 PM »
But there could be other quasar groups in other directions beyond our visibility, I guess. I don't know much about astronomy either so I'll keep my mouth shut :p

Offline Ħ

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 04:00:51 PM »
OK. I wonder what the ramifications would be if Cosmological Principle if it were refuted (although it is only being challenged at this point).
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 04:09:43 PM »
I'm a noob regarding this but using wiki i found this:

"It comprises seventy-three quasars, with a minimum diameter of 1.4 billion light-years, but over four billion light-years at its widest point. According to researcher and author, Roger Clowes, the existence of structures of the magnitude of large quasar clusters was believed theoretically impossible. Cosmological structures had been believed to have a size limit of approximately 1.2 billion light-years."
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Offline Sigz

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 04:13:31 PM »
I know what the cosmological principle is, I just don't see how this violates it. From wikipedia:

Quote
The cosmological principle is usually stated formally as 'Viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the Universe are the same for all observers.' This amounts to the strongly philosophical statement that the part of the Universe which we can see is a fair sample, and that the same physical laws apply throughout.

This still fits in with the laws of physics, it's size is just unexpected.
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Offline Progmetty

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 04:19:31 PM »
I don't get what "found a structure" means, is this a planet or a star or what? where is it?!
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Offline kári

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 04:21:13 PM »
I don't get what "found a structure" means, is this a planet or a star or what? where is it?!
It just means it's something coherent. Like clusters of galaxies, but on a much bigger scale. They all move towards or around a common point. But they're still far, far apart. Just like we can say that we are part of the Milky way, even though other stars etc are far away.

Edit: look at this "map" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Earth%27s_Location_in_the_Universe_(JPEG).jpg :)

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Offline Progmetty

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 04:24:01 PM »
That's impressing indeed.
I wouldn't want somebody with 18 kids to mow my damn lawn, based on a longstanding bias I have against crazy fucks.

Offline Ħ

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2013, 04:38:01 PM »
I know what the cosmological principle is, I just don't see how this violates it. From wikipedia:

Quote
The cosmological principle is usually stated formally as 'Viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the Universe are the same for all observers.' This amounts to the strongly philosophical statement that the part of the Universe which we can see is a fair sample, and that the same physical laws apply throughout.

This still fits in with the laws of physics, it's size is just unexpected.
That's what I was thinking too.


Oh by the way, "its". Not "it's". :P
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 04:40:49 PM »
That picture is just beautiful! It's amazing when you think about the fact that it's less than 100 years since we belived that Cosmos consisted entirely of the Milky Way Galaxy. It wasn't until 1925 when Hubble presented the idea that the nebulae's he observed were much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and were, in fact, entire galaxies outside our own. (Wiki  :heart)

Love this quote:
"The realization that we live in a galaxy, and that there were, in fact, many other galaxies, parallels discoveries that were made about the Milky Way and other nebulae in the night sky."
There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.

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Offline Jaq

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2013, 04:48:20 PM »
Four billion light years across. I can't even wrap my mind around how big this is.
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2013, 05:18:30 AM »
I actually missed that they had taken a new Hubble deep field image, anyway fantastic stuff to read:

Quote
The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is an image of a small part of space in the center of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field within the constellation Fornax, showing the deepest optical view in space.
 
Released on September 25, 2012, the XDF image compiled 10 years of previous images and shows galaxies from 13.2 billion years ago. The exposure time was two million seconds, or approximately 23 days. The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. Many of the smaller galaxies are very young galaxies that eventually became the major galaxies, like the Milky Way and other galaxies in our galactic neighborhood.
The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, adds another 5,500 galaxies to those discovered in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field.
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Offline Sketchy

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2013, 05:31:15 AM »
Oooh, that's pretty killer.
This is as exciting as superluminal neutrinos. The sexy thing is that this actually exists :D

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2013, 05:52:18 AM »
Quote
Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe


Is it Ricky Gervais' Ego ?


 :hat

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2013, 06:02:12 AM »
Find the faintest fuzzy dot in the zoomed picture. That object is a cluster of more than 10 billions stars like ours, with planets and lifeforms, with beings looking at a similar photo they took of our region of the universe, and thinking the same of us.
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2013, 06:13:13 AM »
Find the faintest fuzzy dot in the zoomed picture. That object is a cluster of more than 10 billions stars like ours, with planets and lifeforms, with beings looking at a similar photo they took of our region of the universe, and thinking the same of us.
That's mind boggling and it reminded me of Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot."
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Offline wasteland

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2013, 06:25:48 AM »
Find the faintest fuzzy dot in the zoomed picture. That object is a cluster of more than 10 billions stars like ours, with planets and lifeforms, with beings looking at a similar photo they took of our region of the universe, and thinking the same of us.
That's mind boggling and it reminded me of Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot."

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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2013, 08:46:49 AM »
Correct me if i'm wrong here, i'm a noob!

But if the observable universe has a diameter of approx. 93 billion light years, this structure/quasar group takes up approx. 4% of all that?
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Offline Sketchy

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2013, 08:54:56 AM »
That's pretty huge if you have mathsed it right.
This is as exciting as superluminal neutrinos. The sexy thing is that this actually exists :D

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2013, 09:10:56 AM »
That's pretty huge if you have mathsed it right.
Actually i had the wrong diameter on the structure, it's 1,4 billion light years in diameter so it shoud be 1.5% instead. Hey but still.....whooping 1.5%! Take that Milky Way!!
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Offline wasteland

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2013, 09:20:10 AM »

That's pretty huge if you have mathsed it right.
Actually i had the wrong diameter on the structure, it's 1,4 billion light years in diameter so it shoud be 1.5% instead. Hey but still.....whooping 1.5%! Take that Milky Way!!

It's still huge. How far is that thing?
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2013, 09:47:38 AM »

That's pretty huge if you have mathsed it right.
Actually i had the wrong diameter on the structure, it's 1,4 billion light years in diameter so it shoud be 1.5% instead. Hey but still.....whooping 1.5%! Take that Milky Way!!

It's still huge. How far is that thing?
I don't know how far from earth it is but the group itself is 4 billion light years at it's widest point according to wiki.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 10:49:24 AM by MrBoom_shack-a-lack »
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Offline TioJorge

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2013, 10:46:13 AM »
 :tup
Incomprehensible and awe-inspiring.

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Offline Orbert

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2013, 10:55:01 AM »
Pretty big, too.

Offline Ħ

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2013, 10:57:32 AM »
Just curious, what qualifies as a "structure" within the universe? On first instinct, that seems like an arbitrary categorical word, but I am open to it having real significant meaning.


After all, wouldn't the universe itself be the largest structure in the universe?
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Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2013, 11:31:03 AM »
Just curious, what qualifies as a "structure" within the universe? On first instinct, that seems like an arbitrary categorical word, but I am open to it having real significant meaning.
I'll quote someone else that i think sounds like a decent answer:

"I think by 'structure' they mean 'gravitationally bound object' - that is, each of these quasars exerts a non-trivial gravitational force on another quasar. So they can therefore claim it's a single structure, a single unit.
Similarly to how a galaxy is made of billions of gravitationally bound stars."
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2013, 01:32:26 PM »
That sounds correct. Thanks, Mr. Boom. :tup
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2013, 01:49:41 PM »
This is pretty incredible.  Love it when stuff like this happens -- it allows science to refine itself.

Offline Azyiu

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2013, 07:03:39 PM »
Awesome news and thread!  :tup
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Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Astronomers discover the largest structure in the universe
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2013, 09:20:05 PM »
What makes this find even more amazing to me is the fact that I can't even comprehend how we as humans...with very rudimentary and limited technology (universally speaking) can even find and measure such a thing. When they come out every other month saying they've found such and such planet, or measured the nitrogen on a planet orbiting a star 14 million light years away....how they heck is that possible? It's amazing actually.

Makes me wonder if there just aren't some really drunk or stoned geeks with physics degrees somewhere in a basement making this stuff up.....I'd never know. But the pictures on APOD are cool!
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