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The Largest Discovered Structure in the Universe Contradicts Big-Bang Theory Cosmology (Weekend Feature)



"While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this "large quasar group" (LQG), we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe," said Dr Clowes of University of Central Lancashire'sJeremiah Horrocks Institute. "This is hugely exciting – not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe. Even traveling 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."



This LQG challenges the Cosmological Principle, the assumption that the universe, when viewed at a sufficiently large scale, looks the same no matter where you are observing it from. The modern theory of cosmology is based on the work of Albert Einstein, and depends on the assumption of the Cosmological Principle. The principle is assumed, but has never been demonstrated observationally 'beyond reasonable doubt.'

Quasars are the nuclei of galaxies from the early days of the universe that undergo brief periods of extremely high brightness that make them visible across huge distances. These periods are 'brief' in astrophysics terms but actually last 10-100 million years. 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.

To give some sense of scale, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is separated from its nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, by about 0.75 Megaparsecs (Mpc) or 2.5 million light-years. Whole clusters of galaxies can be 2-3 Mpc across but LQGs can be 200 Mpc or more across. Based on the Cosmological Principle and the modern theory of cosmology, calculations suggest that astrophysicists should not be able to find a structure larger than 370 Mpc. Clowes' newly discovered LQG however has a typical dimension of 500 Mpc. But because it is elongated, its longest dimension is 1200 Mpc (or 4 billion light years) - 
some 1600 times larger than the distance from the Milky Way to Andromeda.




The colored background of the image above indicates the peaks and troughs in the occurrence of quasars at the distance of the LQG. Darker colors indicate more quasars, lighter colors indicate fewer quasars. The LQG is clearly seen as a long chain of peaks indicated by black circles. (The red crosses mark the positions of quasars in a different and smaller LQG). The horizontal and vertical axes represent right ascension and declination, the celestial equivalent of longitude and latitude. The map covers around 29.4 by 24 degrees on the sky, indicating the huge scale of the newly discovered structure.


The team published their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Daily Galaxy via Royal Astronomical Society

Image Credit: R. G. Clowes / UCLan


I don't understand why there are still those who think the universe is only 13.7 billion years old. We can only see that far without gravitational lensing because dark energy is pushing those objects and ourselves away from each other faster than the speed of light, their light will never reach us. The most distant galaxies imaged don't appear to be any younger than our neighbors.

Edwin Hubble hypothesized the big bang when he observed a red shift in all other galaxies except Andromeda. Today we know this illusion of being at the center of a inflating universe is caused by dark energy. In my opinion the universe is more likely to be infinite in time and space than to be young and if not the universe than certainly the multiverse.

Logan, I agree. The universe is very, very old and very, very large. This story is just another nail in the coffin of the BB theory.

Guys, it is not that easy to get rid of a 'big bang - kind' perception. The 'big bang' always was sounding non-elegant to me too, because it was putting a point - zero in times infinite axis. But many facts lead to it unfortunately: Hubble's constant, particles properties and supersymetry, fundamental forces behavior, entropy, all these are somehow tracing backwards into a common origin if we still want to believe in cause and effect principles...

You have not seen anything yet, wait in 3 , 5 ,8 years and we will learned of even larger structures. The sponge we exist in is so large......

I think if Einstein had lived in today's world, he would have revised his theories radically. Considering all the strange observations and contradictions to his model. The time he lived in just simply did not have the technology available for him to make a more complete hypothesis.

The same way Fermi could only for his opinion based on mid 20th century technology. I think if Fermi could see how much of the universe is set up for life to propagate. His theories would also be wildly different.

Umm Logan, I think you misunderstand how astronomy gets to the age of the universe. Certainly there are galaxies further than lets say 14 billion years away from earth...but that doesnt mean the universe is older than 14 billion years. We just can only see 14 billion light years of radius of that universe. Given a certain dark energy factor, the Universe is thought to be well over 70 billion light years in size... Also, gravitational lensing is used to look through Dark MATTER, it has absolutely nothing to do with dark energy. The Age comes from heat loss equations and the measured "temp" of the universe at certain stages (now, cosmic microwave background) and particle physics.

"I think if Einstein had lived in today's world, he would have revised his theories radically. Considering all the strange observations and contradictions to his model. The time he lived in just simply did not have the technology available for him to make a more complete hypothesis."

Things might be a LOT different had he simply known about the real, massive particle potential of the quantum vacuum:

Logan - I don't think dark mater is pushing anything.
It does not interact actually with any kind of mater, neither it does project any kind of gravitational distortion.
It does actually looks like trying to "Copy" the shape of the most object.

I wonder if someone ever asked himself the simply question:

- How does it will looks like if another dimension is trying to interact/break in our dimension ?

- How does the other dimension "particles" will looks like and act in our dimension ?

Okay, here it is folks...
When anyone talks about the age of the universe, it`s the time from the big bang till now.
The universe is older and larger than the human mind can even fathom the size or age.
The universe always was, is and shall be.
Scientist, astronomists, even Neil DeGrasse Tyson, when they speak of the Universe, it`s really the known Universe they`re referring to.
You see, we have no way of knowing for sure how large and how old the universe is. Only our small corner of it since the big bang.
Ground based telescopes can only see back about 6 billion years.
The Hubble deep field can only see 1.5 billion years.
The Hubble Ultra deep field, within 800 million years after the big bang.
Hubble Ultra Deep Field IR? 480 million.
The JST? When it`s in operation, 280 million years after the big bang.
What happens when we create a spaced based telescope that can see past 13.7 billion years, past the amount of time since the big bang. What then?

We do have the belief that ours is the only universe that exist or ever has existed. We think that our universe will expand into the infinite, as we believe that the birth of this universe is the beginning of time. What would happen if there were infinite number of universes and like all matter that exist clump together like cream of wheat (or gravy). That our universe is part of a larger cluster of universes that we may be considered a rogue universe (a dwarf universe). What would happen if the quasars that we are observing near the big bang lies outside our universe and is much larger than ours. We are still like those who say the world is flat, and Earth is the center of the universe; or those who believe in multi-verses (an endless replication of ourselves with minor variations on the self).

The universe is larger and older than the human mind can imagine?
Is the universe older that 600 trillion years? Fourteen billion years seems like a long time, but is it like seeing some one who is just a teenager, as compared to someone who is in a mid-life crisis of fifty or sixty years old (50 or 60 billion years). As compared to old age at eighty (billion) years old? As far as how large the universe is; it does not go into the infinite.
Space is infinite but the universe is finite, so the number of universe is infinite.


After all it seems that the ideas of Fred Hoyle and the Steady State Theory in general are more correct than the strange Big Bang.

Everywhere we look, we can observe all kinds of formative cycles and recycling composed by small rotating atoms with orbiting elektrons which images even the largest structures in cosmos. Everything we can observe tells of an eternal formative changes of assembling and dissolving gaseous and particle matters.

Even our ancestors states this in their many cultural Stories of Creation where the mytho-cosmological term, "The Primordial Waters", resembles the "eternal hydrogenic watery ocean" in the Universe, scientifically described as The Cosmic Microwave Background and its fluctuating radiation in where everything is created and recreated over and over again.

- Even that many stories of creation begins with "a beginning" this is just a telling technique in order to explain the basical principles of creation by the basic 4 elements and their complementary qualities unfolding in the "element" of space.

Modern cosmological science has gone completely astray because of a the linear world view where all evidences shows a cyclic universe from atoms to superclusters of galaxies with a mutual location of orbit.

Ivar Nielsen
Natural Philosopher

To be accepted one theory, it must be reconciled with the actual conditions of the nature. The proposal, of the theory of big bang, was made according to the condition that the theory would answer to some questions, that not been answered with the actual data.
I will not refer to these questions, because it will take too much space to describe them and because I feel that many of these questions are familiar to all of us,
Because of the theory is not able to answer to any of these questions it tries to incorporate these questions as realities of nature. As a result, instead of providing answers we have new questions these to be increased. So, we reached to the point of looking for, dark matter, dark energy, black holes, initial conditions that do not obey the laws of nature, etc., without being able to determine something about these concepts.
The bad thing of this case is the fact that the incumbent perceptions cannot fit anything other than the perceptions of the theory of big bang. So are discarded theories which describe the creation much better than the theory of big bang.
For example, the theory of «Pointal charges», described in chapters six and seven of the book, «From the inside of quarks and up to beyond the Universe».

I love how many comments there are here of people saying "no the universe is like THIS!" Every single scientist who actually has relevant knowledge on the subject of cosmology speaks very carefully about it. We're obviously learning a lot about our universe and most of it is still confusing. Especially to those of us who get our knowledge from pop-science websites and magazines. Let's just all agree that we don't know yet, shall we?

However I suggest the picture of a Cosmos composed of many Universes and many Parallel-universes that continuity, evolves and grows. This Cosmos is surrounded by an empty space which extends to infinity. I believe that this picture of Cosmos is very close to the reality.

@ Vaggelis Talios,

There is no such thing as "empty space". Read these links:

This is the best comment thread I've ever seen on this site.

To understanding to the universe is the same to understand one's self. First you must envision your mind as to be infinite in that we can takes the imagination to no limits. Also you must, envision a universe that cannot, be measured or weighed by things that we cannot imagine. It is a cosmological parody of ones desire to be infinite or one with the universe.

@Ivar Nielsen. A clarification. You are absolutely right. Between galaxies and various celestial bodies, there is the Interstellar. Maybe I should clarify that with the phrase «empty space», did not mean the void between the galaxies or the void between the various celestial bodies, but I meant the void that extend beyond the boundaries of the Universes and Parallel-universes. Indeed in the analytical works I do not use the term «empty space», but the term «absolutely empty space». The rest, I believe and hope that one day we will have the opportunity to discuss.

One problem I have with the theory of an expanding universe is that to overcome the fact we appear to be at the center of it, it was argued, based on the theory of relativity, that space itself is expanding, yet it is still assumed these other galaxies are moving away from us in distances measured by the speed of light. In other words, it is assumed that as they move away, it will take light longer to traverse the distance. That is not relativistic, since the speed of light does not remain constant to this expanded space. For that to be, the speed of light should increase, proportional to the expanded space, otherwise this space is being denominated in lightyears and the expansion is the numerator, which means it is increased distance, not expanding space. Remember, 'space is what you measure with a ruler' and the ruler is set by C. Saying it's all four dimensional and we just can't visualize it in our three dimensional space, ignores the fact that the space between two points is only one dimension. Saying the light is just being 'carried along' by this expansion doesn't make any sense either, since it is still being denominated in lightyears, which are not expanding. It would be like saying that if you put a ruler in your car and drive down the road, it stretches space.
Now, we are at the center of our optical perception of the universe and so if redshift is an optical effect, this situation would be quite logical. Not to mention that as an optical effect, it would compound on itself, creating a parabolic curve of increasing redshift and this would explain the shifting pattern we observed about halfway to the horizon line of what's visible, currently being explained as an effect of dark energy.
That cosmic background radiation from the edge of the visible horizon, would be the light of even further sources, shifted completely off the visible spectrum. Thus the answer to Olber's paradox.

scientists claim they have figured out that there is an infinite amount of universes.

Quasars - it could not long and not super-massive objects. It's simple - the lights of ships of the galactic fleet, which incidentally is flying in our direction. The Doppler effect is offset by the relativistic time dilation of oscillators, so we see a red shift of the spectrum instead of the ultra-violet.

@ John Merryman,
Of course we are not at the centre of the Universe. The observatons just shows what is found in the measurable part of it, as you wrote.
Many people have problems with an expanding universe and it all goes bananas when scientist states that it even is accelerating and of course another dark magic (dark energy) is needed in order to patch this unscientifically idea which directly contradicts the Big Bang idea.
Read about the redshift anomalies here:

@ Vaggelis Talios
Thanks for the reply. You wrote:
"I meant the void that extend beyond the boundaries of the Universes and Parallel-universes".
AD: In my opinion there is just THE Universe and it has no boundaries.

Regards Ivar

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