Astronomers Discover a 1.8 Billion Light-Year-Long "Supervoid" In Space

Astronomers Discover a 1.8 Billion Light-Year-Long "Supervoid" In Space

the supervoid

The supervoid is the biggest single structure in the observable universe.

For the longest time, Astronomers were puzzled by a "cold spot" in the universe - a section of space that was considerably colder than everything else around it. Now, they may have just uncovered its cause, with the discovery of a massive "supervoid" in the area - spanning an incredibly 1.8 billion light years in length.

Istvan Szapudi at the University of Hawaii described the object as possibly "the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity". The image to the right shows our observable universe, complete with the "cold spot" and the supervoid it contains highlighted by a white circle. The billion light year-long void is distinguished by its unusual emptiness.

Its existence only emerged thanks to a targeted astronomical survey, which confirmed that around 10,000 galaxies were "missing" from the part of the sky it sits in.

If you're confused on what exactly a supervoid is, well, it's not quite the same as a black hole, which is a vacuum with intense gravity. Instead, it just has... less stuff in it than usual. About 20% less stuff to be exact. "Supervoids are not entirely empty, they're under-dense," explained András Kovács, a co-author at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

This is the greatest supervoid ever discovered," Kovács said. "In combination of size and emptiness, our supervoid is still a very rare event. We can only expect a few supervoids this big in the observable universe."

As for how it relates to the cold spot, if we assume that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate (a theory which the supervoid's existence adds weight to), photons of light would be expected to lose energy (cool) as they cross a void.

In summary, space is a crazy, huge place filled with crazy, huge things that most of us can't even begin to understand.

Source: The Guardian

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It's even more amazing when you factor in how many unfathomable sizes are in this article. A light year is already more than we can conceptualize. A billion of anything is more than we can picture. There's almost two of both of those combined in that space.

So THAT's where the elder gods slumber.

Alright. Now we just need a weapon that can destroy 2 billion lightyears of nothingness and we're safe.

I'm about confused by the consistent usage of the term 'structure' when the subject matter seems to just be an area with less things in it. Not sure when we started identifying a lack of things as a thing.

It's the Eye of Terror.

Chaos is coming...

This Just In: Giant Space SuperVoid is the New Cause of Global Warming.

:P

Seriously though, I'm with Jadak on this one. The term "structure" implies a complete object...not a severe lack of objects. When combined with the 10,000 missing galaxies bit, I thought this was like, the gaping maw of the Antiverse sucking up reality and returning it to the nothingness from whence it came.

Come to find out it's just a particularly vast expanse of dark space...yawn.

That supervoid is actually where God lives. It's under dense because God isn't a people person and likes to be alone.

Hawki:
It's the Eye of Terror.

Chaos is coming...

I for one welcome our new Chaos warlords and shall enjoy being a disposable meat shield/sacrifice/fuck toy.

But in all seriousness this is an interesting discovery.

That sounds a lot more terrifying than it actually is. I was expecting some monstrous inter-dimensional portal that was swallowing entire clusters of galaxies.

my totaly crazy theory: Some alien race has found a way to convert stars into energy for consumption and are strategically "mining out" the stars in that sector.

Steven Bogos:
it's not quite the same as a black hole, which is a vacuum with intense gravity.

uh, thats not what a black hole is. Black hole is a singularity-like object with gravitational force so strong not even photons can escape it. In fact due to density of objects being pulled in you could argue it has far less vacuum than the rest of space.

Areloch:
So THAT's where the elder gods slumber.

Alright. Now we just need a weapon that can destroy 2 billion lightyears of nothingness and we're safe.

I pursued my copy the Necronomicon and the void was caused by the people of the plateau of Leng trying summon Yog Sothoth but failing and causing a giant interdimensional fart in the far distant past.

Jadak:
I'm about confused by the consistent usage of the term 'structure' when the subject matter seems to just be an area with less things in it. Not sure when we started identifying a lack of things as a thing.

It's a naturally (as far as we know) occurring 'structure' in a similar fashion to how the Great Red Spot or our solar system as a whole can be considered 'structures' in the larger milieu of our galaxy, and the universe itself despite each being comprised in significant portion of empty space compared to its immediate environment. A section of reality with a recognizable pattern that distinguishes it from its surroundings.

It's a descriptive term of convenience that tells us something is different about the organization of matter in the universe within this region...if you prefer, you can think of the entire universe as a structure that effectively ends or sharply grades down around this region, the way that an open skylight is a structure that borders the absence of skylight within it. The skylight is still going to be a distinct structure defining a region of relative 'nothing', distinct from and compared to the house it's mounted in as well as the open air (or vacuum, or remarkably reduced density of matter) which it frames.

Strazdas:
my totaly crazy theory: Some alien race has found a way to convert stars into energy for consumption and are strategically "mining out" the stars in that sector.

Well, sounds reasonable. I accept this theory as the ultimate truth. Aliens, how do they work?
In 200 years someone will find your post on the archive and will wonder how the hell did you know about star mining.

"Ahh yes, 'Reapers'..."

Ahh finally! This must be where all those socks, dreams, sense of dignity and Hillary Clinton's emails have disappeared too. I, for one, say we nuke it before it takes any more. I'm fed up of buying socks! REVOLT!!!

Jadak:
I'm about confused by the consistent usage of the term 'structure' when the subject matter seems to just be an area with less things in it. Not sure when we started identifying a lack of things as a thing.

Just think of it as massively scaling up. The atoms that make us up are mostly made of nothing, so if there was a being so small an atom was like a galaxy to them we would seem like vast emptiness similar to the way we perceive the universe.

And please... look to that as more than a metaphor than anything because comparing it to reality is wildly wrong.

So You people made a joke about the Eye of Terror but noone noticed the guys name?
Istvan is where it all went down after all

You've never heard of the Yog-Sothoth? It's the ship that made the Cold Spot Supervoid run in less than twelve parsecs.

shrekfan246:
You've never heard of the Yog-Sothoth? It's the ship that made the Cold Spot Supervoid run in less than twelve parsecs.

So they made the 1.8 milliard Lightyears by moving less than 39 Lightyears? (~12 Parsec)

D3s_ToD3s:

shrekfan246:
You've never heard of the Yog-Sothoth? It's the ship that made the Cold Spot Supervoid run in less than twelve parsecs.

So they made the 1.8 milliard Lightyears by moving less than 39 Lightyears? (~12 Parsec)

Yes.

(On the off chance I need to explain it, it's also a Star Wars reference, because the Kessel Run and the Millennium Falcon's conquering of it in twelve parsecs when it's a route of eighteen was a topic of hot debate for some reason.)

A wild Galactus just appears. Galactus uses light-speed to move closer.
It's super... ineffective.

Hate to be "that guy", but um....

Steven Bogos:
...a black hole, which is a vacuum with intense gravity.

Mmmmm, no. That's not what a black hole is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole

A black hole is essentially gravity gone mad. In fact, given the density of the matter within the singularity, a black hole may very well be the least vacuous thing in the universe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I don't know why, but reading through the Guardian article made me think of Isaac Asimov's novel "Nightfall". I really must go reread that one. Was a great story.

Anyway, interesting discovery. It only really deepens the mystery of the "cold spot", but still interesting.

Vigormortis:
Hate to be "that guy", but um....

Steven Bogos:
...a black hole, which is a vacuum with intense gravity.

Mmmmm, no. That's not what a black hole is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole

A black hole is essentially gravity gone mad. In fact, given the density of the matter within the singularity, a black hole may very well be the least vacuous thing in the universe.

I suspect he means 'vacuum' as in 'vacuum cleaner', which is a decent analogy for black holes that gets thrown around from time to time. But yeah, its a bad word to use when a black hole quite definitely isn't a region of empty space (ie the literal meaning of the word vacuum)...

***

Okay. That's cool. I'm guessing the young universe, which is sometimes referred to as a plasma 'bath' of hot particles, had a bubble in it?

Let's not track down the god-baby that made that bubble, shall we? :P

 

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