Astronomers from the University of Hawaii who have recently been studying what they believed was the largest detected structure in the universe have only actually found a 1.8 billion light year wide open space, not a “structure.”
The Astronomers where trying to figure out why galaxies were missing from a portion of the sky being observed that was expected to have about 10,000 galaxies.
What can now be known as a “supervoid” was distinctive for its unexpected emptiness, it is “the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity,”said the studies leader István Szapudi of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Szapudi’s research team was looking at the region that was lately found to be an area where the cosmic microwave background radiation is much cooler than the average background temperatures that surround. Astronomers have named this phenomenon a “Cold Spot.”
The existence of such a large, cold area was unpredictable as most models of the evolution of the universe determine that after the Big Bang, there were some hot and cold regions in the early days of the universe, but nothing on the scale of this Cold Spot.
Researchers argue that this could be some kind of Cold Spot or empty hole because they say that their “supervoid” is sucking energy out of the cosmic radiational background that travels around it.
This supervoid is located 3 billion light years from Earth and was found in analyzing data from the Pan-STARRS1 telescope located on Maui in Hawaii and from NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite.
The supervoid is unexpected given the usual even distribution of the universe at the scale the empty region occupies, the researchers say.
“This is the greatest supervoid ever discovered,” says Kovács. “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.”
The researchers understand that the new study hasn’t totally determined an association between the supervoid and the Cold Spot but they also know that the two phenomena being in the same position in the sky by pure coincidence is highly unlikely.
In addition, even if they are linked, the supervoid only accounts for about 10 percent of the temperature decrease that was noted in the Cold Spot.
Cosmologist at the University of Durhabm in Great Britain Carlos Frenk feels, “The void itself I’m not so unhappy about…It’s like the Everest of voids — there has to be one that’s bigger than the rest. But it doesn’t explain the whole Cold Spot, which we’re still in the dark about.”