A new report from the Royal Astronomical Society has announced the discovery of the largest structure to have been found so far in the Universe. The object, found by an Hungarian-US team of astronomers, is approximately a mind-boggling 5 billion light years across and covers almost a tenth of the observable universe. Scientists have used gamma-ray bursts as a means to map out the enormous structure. Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous events in the known universe, emitting more energy in seconds than our sun will in its whole lifetime. They are thought to be from stellar relics of massive stars which have gone hypernova. Their brightness helps scientists locate very distant galaxies. You certainly wouldn’t want to be close to them, however!
Image credit: L.Balazs
In the above picture, you can see a ring-like formation of nine gamma-ray bursts which are thought to be in gravitationally bound galaxies and we are looking face-on to the structure.
Team leader Professor Lajos Balazs commented “If the ring represents a real spatial structure, then it has to be seen nearly face-on because of the small variations of GRB distances around the object’s centre. The ring could though instead be a projection of a sphere, where the GRBs all occurred within a 250 million year period, a short timescale compared with the age of the universe. If we are right, this structure contradicts the current models of the universe. It was a huge surprise to find something this big – and we still don’t quite understand how it came to exist at all.”
Essentially its too big to fit in with our current understanding. The team will of course be carrying out further studies. TMC will, of course, keep you updated.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by author.