Just in case you needed one more confirmation that there’s a lot of order in the Universe, you should take into account the discovery of PhD student Alexia Lopez. With the help of collaborator Gerard Wilinger from the University of Louisville (USA) and advised by Roger Clowes from the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, the student discovered the so-called ‘Giant Arc’ of galaxies that spreads across 3.3 billion light-years.
The newfound arc of galaxies is located in the constellation of Boötes the Herdsman and also at the staggering distance from us: over 9.2 billion light-years away. The news comes from Preston Hub, and what’s even more intriguing than the size and shape of the Giant Arc is that the discovery challenges one of the most basic assumptions about our Universe.
The following statement of UCLan PhD student Alexia Lopez says it all:
The growing number of large-scale structures over the size limit of what is considered theoretically viable is becoming harder to ignore. According to cosmologists, the current theoretical limit is calculated to be 1.2 billion light years, which makes the Giant Arc almost three times larger. Can the standard model of cosmology account for these huge structures in the Universe as just rare flukes, or is there more to it than that?
Alexia Lopez also added:
The Giant Arc we are seeing certainly raises more questions than answers as it may expand the notion of ‘sufficiently large’. The key question is, what do we consider to be ‘sufficiently large’?
The Giant Arc is about 1/15th the radius of the entire observable Universe. The structure is also twice the size of the Sloan Great Wall of galaxies and clusters from the ‘nearby Universe’.
Alexia Lopez has presented her discovery at the 238th virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, held between 7 and 9 June.