Where are our galaxy Earth and the Milky Way located in this illustration of a billion-light-year-wide bubble of galaxies discovered by astronomers in Hawaii? Notice the Milky Way at the bottom of the green region called Laniakea, which is a large group of galaxies, home to the Milky Way and about 100,000 other nearby galaxies. And the new bubble? The larger closed bubble is on the left in this illustration. Individual galaxies are depicted as small bright spots. Image via Frédéric Dorion, Anime Studio/Daniel Pomared, IRFU, CEA Paris-Saclay/ UH.

A huge bubble of galaxies

Astronomers in Hawaii said this week (September 5, 2023) that they have discovered a massive bubble 820 million light-years from Earth. They called it:

…fossil-like remnants of the birth of the universe.

And they said its size – a billion light-years in diameter – is:

… beyond theoretical expectations.

Astronomer Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy – and his team – unexpectedly discovered the bubble within a well-known network of galaxies, part of the great cosmic web of galaxies that is thought to make up our universe as a whole.

They’ve named the new super bubble Ho’oleilana. It’s a name taken from Komolipu, the Hawaiian creation song The origin of the structure.

the Astrophysical Journal The new results were published on 5 September.

Ho’oleilana – A bubble of galaxies a billion light-years across – by Daniel Pomarède on Vimeo.

3D ripples in the early universe

This same team of researchers also identified the Laniakea Supercluster in 2014. This structure, which includes our own Milky Way galaxy, is small by comparison. Laniakea is about 500 million light-years in diameter, and extends to the near edge of this larger bubble.

Astronomers determined the bubble using data from Cosmicflows-4 – a catalog of distances to 55,877 galaxies – which Tully and his team published in the fall of 2022.

Their statement explained that – according to the Standard Model of cosmology – massive structures such as this giant bubble are the result of three-dimensional ripples present in the matter of the early universe. Scientists call it BAQ, which stands for Baryon Acoustic Oscillations. Tully explained:

We were not looking for it. It is so huge that it extends to the edges of the sky sector we were analyzing.

As a boost to galaxy density, it’s a much stronger feature than expected. The very large diameter of a billion light-years exceeds theoretical expectations.

If its formation and evolution are consistent with theory, then this BAO is closer than expected, implying a high value for the expansion rate of the universe.

The astronomers’ statement added that they believe:

This may be the first time astronomers have identified a single structure associated with BAO. This discovery could help advance scientists’ knowledge of the effects of galaxy evolution.

what’s wrong with you

In the Big Bang theory, during the first 400,000 years of the universe’s life, a cauldron of hot plasma – similar to the core of the sun – spread throughout space. The electrons in the plasma have been separated from their atomic nuclei.

During this period, astronomers said:

…the slightly higher density regions began to collapse under the influence of gravity, even as the intense radiation shower tried to push the material away. This struggle between gravity and radiation made the plasma oscillate, or ripple, and spread outward.

The largest ripples in the early universe depended on the distance a sound wave could travel. This distance was determined by the speed of sound in the plasma, which is roughly 500 million light-years away, and was fixed when the universe cooled and ceased to be plasma, leaving wide three-dimensional ripples.

Over the ages, galaxies have formed at density peaks, in massive bubble-like structures.

Astronomers said:

… The distribution of galaxies, if properly characterized, can reveal the characteristics of these ancient messengers.

Galactic bubble mapping

Daniel Pomaridy of CEA Paris-Saclay University in France said:

I am the group’s cartographer, and mapping Holilana in three dimensions helps us understand its content and its relationship to its surroundings.

It was an amazing process to build this map and see how the structure of Holilana’s gigantic crust is composed of elements that have been identified in the past as being in themselves some of the largest structures in the universe.

Detection of a single BAO

Tully’s team discovered that Ho’oleilana was noted in a 2016 paper as the most prominent of several shell-like structures seen in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. But they said:

Previous work did not reveal the full extent of the structure, and this team did not conclude that they had found BAO.

Using the Cosmicflows-4 catalog, (these) researchers were able to see the entire sphere of galaxies, pinpoint its center, and show that there is a statistical enhancement in galaxy density in all directions from that center.

They said Holiliana includes several previously discovered structures well known to astronomers who study galaxies, such as the Harvard/Smithsonian Great Wall containing the Coma Cluster, the Hercules Cluster of galaxies, and the Great Wall of Sloan.

Boötes Supercluster is at its center.

The historic Boötes Void is a huge empty sphere inside Let’s make each other happy.

Bottom line: Astronomers have discovered an enormous bubble of galaxies, 820 million light-years from Earth and a billion light-years wide. They named it Ho’oleilana, from the Hawaiian creation chant.

Source: Ho’oleilana: a single baryon acoustic oscillation?

via the University of Hawaii

(tags for translation) space

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