'Hyperclusters' of the Universe -- "Something is Behaving Very Strangely" (Today's Most Popular)
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November 20, 2013

'Hyperclusters' of the Universe -- "Something is Behaving Very Strangely" (Today's Most Popular)

 

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The large-scale structure of the Universe appears to be dominated by vast "hyperclusters" of galaxies, according to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, compiled with a telescope at Apache Point, New Mexico. The 2011 survey plots the 2D positions of galaxies across a quarter of the sky. The science team concluded that it could mean that gravity or dark energy – or something completely unknown – is behaving very strangely.

We know that the universe was smooth just after its birth. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), the light emitted 370,000 light years after the big bang, reveal only very slight variations in density from place to place. Gravity then took hold and amplified these variations into today's galaxies and galaxy clusters, which in turn are arranged into big strings and knots called superclusters, with relatively empty voids in between.

On even larger scales, though, cosmological models say that the expansion of the universe should trump the clumping effect of gravity. That means there should be very little structure on scales larger than a few hundred million light years across. "Should be." But according to Shaun Thomas of University College London (UCL), and colleagues aggregations of galaxies stretching for more than 3 billion light years have been found. The hyperclusters are not very sharply defined, with only a couple of per cent variation in density from place to place, but even that density contrast is twice what the tandard cosmological modelstheory predict.

A 2D picture of the sky cannot reveal the true large-scale structure in the universe. To get the full picture, Thomas and his colleagues also used the color of galaxies recorded in the survey. More distant galaxies look redder than nearby ones because their light has been stretched to longer wavelengths while travelling through an expanding universe. By selecting a variety of bright, old elliptical galaxies whose natural color is well known, the team calculated approximate distances to more than 700,000 objects. The upshot is a rough 3D map of one quadrant of the universe, showing the hazy outlines of some enormous structures.

Dark energy is usually assumed to be uniform across the cosmos. If instead it can pool in some areas, then its repulsive force could push away nearby matter, creating these giant patterns.

Alternatively, we may need to extend our understanding of gravity beyond Einstein's general theory of relativity. "It could be that we need an even more general theory to explain how gravity works on very large scales," says Thomas.

A more mundane answer might yet emerge. Using color to find distance is very sensitive to observational error, says David Spergel of Princeton University. Dust and stars in our own galaxy could confuse the dataset, for example. Although the UCL team have run some checks for these sources of error, Thomas admits that the result might turn out to be the effect of foreground stars either masking or mimicking distant galaxies.

A comprehensive catalogue of spectra for Sloan galaxies is being assembled in a project called the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Meanwhile, the Dark Energy Survey uses a telescope in Chile to measure the colors of even more galaxies than Sloan, beginning in October. Such maps might bring hyperclusters out of the haze – or consign them to the status of monstrous mirage.

The richest supercluster of galaxies in the nearby universe is the Shapley Concentration, made up of 25 separate clusters grouped together in one giant supercluster some 700 million light-years away and with a total mass of about 1016 (10,000 trillion) solar masses. Its gravitational attraction contributes perhaps 25% of the motion of the Local Group.

 

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At the core of the Shapley Concentration is an extraordinary remarkable complex formed by several rich clusters of galaxies from the Abell catalog – A3558, A3562, and A3556 – and by the two minor groups SC 1327-312 and SC 1329-314. The central and most massive cluster is A3558, which is dominated by a cD galaxy.

Image below is a radio map of galaxies in the core of the Shapley Concentration: A3556-A3558-A3562 chain. Credit: T. Venturi, S. Bardelli, R. Morganti, & R. W. Hunstead, Istituto di Radioastronomia.

The Daily Galaxy via newscientist.com and the Physical Review Letters, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.241301

Comments

Either some force is locally ‘pushing’ things apart, and/or some local force is pulling things together?

Or maybe, the initial conditions have to be changed. It seems like Physics lost is backward gear and it passed straight where it should have turned or it turned where it shouldn't have. Backward direction is sometimes the right direction.

Some introspection is needed for a better extrospection of reality. We, humans are guided as much by our own illusions as we are by our reality. That is why we live in a big mess. Science is not the leading domain in this regard, it just follow the trend... In our societies, lying is necessary to self progress but it is wrong for the progress of society. The wealth of your neighbour should be your own wealth...

Spot on, michel couture. Plus, our lifespan is not sufficiently long for us to pay very much attention to the bigger picture.

It is still too early in our investigation of the cosmos to tell
with any certainty the truth about gravity...dark matter...dark
energy and the rest of the lot. We might have a better understanding when we see the universe from another vantage point....ie..another star system far from here. In other words
a long time from now.

Quote: "We know that the universe was smooth just after its birth".

No, "we" don´t. We assume and we guess. And when more and more contradictions shows up, we keep on assuming and guessing instead of discarding and revising the theories.

"We" assumes that redshift shows distances where it just shows "tired light" and thus we assume that everything started in a Big Bang in spite of the uneven distributions of super galactic clusters which contradicts the BB.

And "we" assumes that in spite of numerous gravity anomalies (3.490.000 google hits) all over the place, we still keep onto a "Standard Model" that produces all the anomalies.

" We assume and we guess."

I silently uttered those exact words to the cited quotation, Ivan.

If we could just somehow survive our militant penchant to cling at all cost to indefinitely stretched and rationalized orthodoxies…

Meanwhile, how about some respect for an electrical universe?

My dear friends. To explain the creation, the development and function of the Universe, must cooperate simultaneously, technology and theoretical science. But while the technology is progressing swimmingly, with all these discoveries, the theoretical development is in completely wrong direction and introduces theories, can only characterized as theories of fiction science. This created and all this uncertainty. I deal this issue for about thirty years and I have written a theory that explains all these phenomena. But who is listening? Unfortunately this is the up to day situation. I do not write, nothing more, because I do not want, the readers of the site, to think that I found the opportunity to develop my views.

Well put Michel


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