Giant Structure Lurking in Deep Space Challenges Our Understanding of The Universe : ScienceAlert | Space

Big Ring.jpg

A colossal structure in the distant Universe is defying our understanding of how the Universe evolved.

In light that has traveled for 6.9 billion years to reach us, astronomers have found a giant, almost perfect ring of galaxies, some 1.3 billion light-years in diameter. It doesn’t match any known structure or formation mechanism.

The Big Ring, as the structure has been named, could mean that we need to amend the standard model of cosmology.

The discovery, led by astronomer Alexia Lopez of the University of Central Lancashire, was presented at the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in January, and is reported in a pre-print paper available at arXiv.

The Big Ring (blue) and Giant Arc (red). (University of Central Lancashire)

It’s the second giant structure discovered by Lopez and her colleagues. The first, called the Giant Arc, is actually in the same part of the sky, at the same distance away. When the arc’s discovery was announced in 2021, it puzzled astronomers. The Big Ring only deepens the mystery.

“Neither of these two ultra-large structures is easy to explain in our current understanding of the universe,” Lopez said in January. “And their ultra-large sizes, distinctive shapes, and cosmological proximity must surely be telling us something important – but what exactly?”

The most immediate link seems to be with something called a Baryon Acoustic…


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