Friday, September 27, 2013

From Quark to Quasar: The Observable Universe

Yesterday, we asked "what is the size of the universe." That becomes a complicated question to answer, and each answer or hypothesis has serious ramifications on the nature of the universe we live in. Today, we'll be posting several articles on the nature of the universe's size, but this is (one of the) closest things to an "answer" we can get with today's knowledge.

If you really want a headache (the good kind), take a long look at this "photo" on the left. No, this is not a photo of the cosmic microwave background radiation (which you can actually see for yourself if you change your television channel to one of the "fuzzy" stations), neither is it a collection of graphs of a cell structure. So, instead of telling you what it isn't, how about I tell you what it is? This is, well... everything. Everything we can see and observe anyway. What you're looking at is a map of known galaxies and superclusters in the "observable" universe, with the gaps that lie between the structures contributing to the map's cell-like structure. These gaps, or voids, are regions of space completely lacking in stars, galaxies, and clusters. The largest of these gaps (the Eridanus supervoid) is almost one billion light-years in totality. You and I, and all the things we've ever known, are smack in the middle of this image, along with our Local group (which is a part of the larger Virgo Supercluster).

To read the full article, see:

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