Feeds

Unbelievably vast quasar cluster forces universe-sized rethink

Hiding in plain sight: discovery came from public data

Seven Steps to Software Security

It’s there, but it shouldn’t be: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has found a quasar cluster so large that it demands a re-assessment of theories about the universe.

The problem with the Large Quasar Group is this: it’s too big. One of the assumptions astronomers draw from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is that at the large scale, the universe should look uniform in every direction (to be more formal: on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers).

With its 73 members spanning four billion light years, the Large Quasar Group is a theoretical inconvenience, because astrophysical models have suggested that 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure.

That limit was derived from computer modelling by a team led by Jaswant Yadav working at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study in 2010.

However, if you’re looking for an “Einstein wrong!” headline, The Register must disappoint you. As lead research in the study Roger Clowes told Space Reporter, “The assumption makes the math a lot easier, but if it turns out we have to drop the assumption then we certainly don’t have to drop Einstein’s [theory of general relativity].”

The team led by Clowes, an astronomer at University of Central Lancashire in England, used data publicly available from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and New Mexico’s Apache Point observatory.

To get an idea of the scale of the four-billion-light-year monster, National Geographic points out that the Milky Way is around 100,000 light years across, and the Virgo Cluster (of which we’re a member) is just a hundred million light years wide.

Just how many London buses that measures, The Register will leave to its readers to work out. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.