The discovery of the Great Ring, a mysterious star cluster that challenges our understanding of the size of the universe.

Design in the form very large ringso much so that its size is difficult to explain, challenging the current understanding of the universe, was discovered by a team of scientists led by a graduate student.

The structure known as Big Ringformed by galaxies and galaxy clusters, located 9.2 billion light years from the earth. The formation has a diameter of 1.3 billion light years and a circumference of 4 billion light years.

“If we could go out and see it directly, the diameter of the Great Ring would require about 15 full moons to cover it,” said scientists from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the United Kingdom who achieved the observation. in the statement.

An image of the ultra-large ring (blue), discovered by doctoral student Alexia Lopez, published by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the United Kingdom. The structure is located 9.2 billion light years from Earth.

Credit: University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Cosmological neighbors

The Great Ring is the second super-large structure discovered by doctoral student Alexia Lopez, who also discovered two years ago Giant bow in the sky.

Surprisingly, the Great Ring and the Giant Arc, with a diameter of 3.3 billion light years, are located in the same area. “cosmological neighborhood”. Both are visible at the same distance, at the same cosmic time, and are separated in the sky by only 12 degrees.

“According to modern cosmological theories, we did not think that structures of this scale were possible. “We would expect perhaps extremely large structure throughout our observable universe,” Lopez said. “However, the Great Ring and the Giant Arch are two huge structures and even cosmological neighbors, which incredibly exciting”.

“Neither of these two ultra-large structures are easily explained by our current understanding of the universe,” he continued. “Their super-large size, distinctive shapes and cosmological proximity must surely tell us something important,” he added, saying he didn’t know what.

“One possibility is that the Great Ring is connected to Baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAO). BAOs arise from fluctuations in the early Universe and today should look, at least statistically, like spherical shells in the arrangement of galaxies“- noted the scientist. “However, detailed analysis of the Great Ring showed that it is not entirely compatible with the BAO explanation: the Great Ring is too large and not spherical.”

Alexia Lopez, PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), who discovered the Great Circle and the Giant Arch.

Credit: University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Beyond the Universe’s Understanding

Lopez explained that other explanations may be needed that deviate from what is generally considered the standard understanding in cosmology. One possibility could be the theory of conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC), proposed by 2020 Nobel Prize winner in physics Roger Penrose. Rings in the Universe could be a sign of CCC.

Another explanation could be the effect of passing the so-called “cosmic ropes”. Cosmic strings are thread-like “topological defects” large size that could have been created in the early Universe.

Jim Peebles, another Nobel laureate, recently hypothesized that cosmic strings may play a role in some other features of the large-scale distribution of galaxies.

However, the Great Ring defies the Cosmological Principle, just as the Giant Arch did before. And if the Great Ring and the Giant Arch together form an even larger structure, then the challenge to the Cosmological Principle will become even more convincing.

Such large structures, says a statement from the University of Central Lancashire, They challenge the idea of ​​what an “average” region is from space. They exceed the size of what is considered theoretically viable and pose a potential challenge to the Cosmological Principle.

“The cosmological principle suggests that the part of the universe that we can see is considered an ‘exact sample’ of what we expect the rest of the universe to be like,” Lopez said. “When we look at the universe on a large scale, we expect matter to be evenly distributed throughout space, so there should be no noticeable irregularities beyond a certain size.”

The identification of two unusual super-large structures in such a close configuration raises the possibility that together they form an even more unusual cosmological system, concluded scientists who presented their findings about the Great Ring at the upcoming meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week. .

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