Biggest thing in the universe theoretically can’t exist

Looking at the Sloan Sky Survey, astronomers found something both exciting and perplexing.

A cluster of quasars stretching four billion light years across.

Exciting because it breaks the record for largest thing in the universe. Perplexing because, according to cosmological theory, it shouldn’t exist.

National Geographic breaks it down:

Astronomers have known for years that quasars can form immense clusters that stretch to more than 700 million light-years across, said Clowes. But the epic size of this group of 73 quasars, sitting about 9 billion light-years away, has left them scratching their heads.

That’s because current astrophysical models appear to show that the upper size limit for cosmic structures should be no more than 1.2 billion light-years.

So what does this mean? Clearly, we’re a bit wrong with our models. Not only does this throw a wrench into our ideas of how big things in the universe can get, it plays havoc with our mathematical models of uniformity, in that “the universe would look pretty much uniform when observed at the largest scales.”

Obviously not.

Scientists have just begun studying what is for now know as the LQC, or Large Quasar Cluster, and plan on mapping it.

The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

– Carl Sagan

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 22:15 by Lincoln Eddy · Permalink
In: Around the Intertubes, Science · Tagged with: , , ,