Astronomers discover the first Bubble of Galaxies a billion light years wide
The bubble is 820 million light years from our galaxy and 10,000 times wider than the Milky Way galaxy.
An unimaginably massive cosmic structure measuring one billion light-years across that is believed to be a fossilized remnant from just after the Big Bang has been found by a team of international astronomers. This structure is known as the first bubble of galaxies.
Scientists who made the discovery and published their findings this week claim that the bubble is 10,000 times larger than the Milky Way galaxy.
According to team member Cullan Howlett from The University of Queensland’s School of Mathematics and Physics, this extraordinary bubble is a fossil from the Big Bang, 13 billion years ago, when the universe was created.
This enormous bubble is a billion light-years across and is 10,000 times smaller than our galaxy.
The bubble known as Ho’oleilana contains the Bootes supercluster of galaxies and is shaped like a spherical shell with a heart. Ho’oleilana means “sent murmurs of awakening” in Hawaiian. It also includes the Sloan Great Wall and other recognized galaxy superclusters.
The discovery, which was reported in The Astrophysical Journal, supports a phenomenon that cosmologist Jim Peebles first predicted in 1970. Following the Big Bang, Peebles proposed the idea that sound waves in the early universe produced bubbles in a hot plasma soup. About 380,000 years after the Big Bang, during the universe’s cooling and growth phases, these bubbles froze in place and took on their current shape.
Howlett stated in an interview with the University of Queensland that “we weren’t even looking for it, but the structure is so enormous it spilled to the edges of the sector of the sky we were analyzing.
It dwarfs many of the largest known structures, including the Sloan Great Wall and the Bootes supercluster, which is actually a part of this bubble, he claimed.
It’s right in our backyard, he continued, which makes it even more unbelievable.
The bubble is located in the region of the universe that astronomers refer to as the nearby universe, about 820 million light-years away from our own galaxy.
According to Howlett, the finding could completely alter our understanding of cosmology and give us a better understanding of the speed at which the universe is expanding.
Our analysis suggests that the universe has expanded more than initially thought because this bubble is larger than anticipated, he said.
In the field of cosmology, where the entire universe’s model may need to be reexamined, we are now one step closer to a significant change.
The Big Nothing
The bubble of galaxies can be visualized as a spherical shell with a heart, according to teammate and astrophysicist Daniel Pomarede from France’s Atomic Energy Commission.
The Bootes supercluster of galaxies, which is located inside that heart and is surrounded by a vast void sometimes referred to as the Great Nothing, is located there.
Other galaxy superclusters that are already well-known to science can be found in the shell, including the enormous Sloan Great Wall.
The discovery of the bubble, which is detailed in research he co-authored and was published this week in The Astrophysical Journal, was made over the course of a protracted scientific investigation, according to Pomarede.
The discovery also supports a phenomenon that Jim Peebles, a Canadian-American cosmologist and future winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, first hypothesized about in 1970.
He postulated that the churning of gravity and radiation produced sound waves known as baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs) in the early universe, which was at the time a stew of hot plasma.
Bubbles were produced as a result of the sound waves’ reverberations in the plasma.
The process came to an end roughly 380,000 years after the Big Bang as the universe cooled and the bubble shapes were frozen. The bubbles then grew bigger, like other fossilized remains from the Big Bang period, as the universe expanded.
In 2005, astronomers discovered BAO signals while analyzing data from nearby galaxies. The researchers claim that the recently found bubble is the first single baryon acoustic oscillation to be observed.
The name Ho’oleilana, which translates to sent murmurs of awakening, was given to the astronomers’ bubble after a Hawaiian creation chant.
The study’s lead author, University of Hawaii-based astronomer Brent Tully, suggested the name.