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Ethan Siegel: Largest structures in the universe may not exist


It’s a pictorial essay at less than 200 words but the gist is:

We’ve discovered many enormous galaxy “walls” in space.

Similarly, great cosmic voids exist between them.

A region of space devoid of matter in our galaxy reveals the Universe beyond.

These largest structures approach, but don’t significantly exceed, the expected cosmic limits.

But two classes of structures threaten this picture.

Three separate large quasar groupings are clustered across too-large cosmic scales.

Similarly galaxy groups from gamma-ray burst mapping surpass these limits.

If real, these structures defy our present cosmic understanding.

However, they may be purely phantasmal.

These signals may emerge from underlying random noise, with statistics incorrectly “discovering” non-existent patterns.

Ethan Siegel, “The Largest Structures In The Universe May Not Actually Exist” at Forbes

It’ll be more fun at Forbes: with the pictures. But, essentially, if we don’t know whether the structures are real or not, why are we worrying about whether they “defy our present cosmic understanding”? First things first.

Meanwhile: Galaxy wall

Peace and joy. God gave us a fancy universe so that we'd have stuff to gaze at after the Sun went down and we were finishing off the last bits of roast wombat. Read "The Privileged Planet". If our sky was cluttered with too many stars, there wouldn't be anything to SEE. And God even arranged for there to be holes in the Milky Way so we can see what a complete galaxy looks like. Oooo! Ahhh! Wonder and joy! Hold a young baby in your lap and watch her stare up at you and try to figure out what the heck you are. The universe is like that, except it's for adults. mahuna
Physics doesn't cease to exist no matter how bastardized it becomes by people. The laws remain. BobRyan
Physics is disappearing from the subject list in some universities, and this is part of the reason. Physics has stopped dealing with the basic laws of reality, and focuses only on weird quantum nonsense and untestable sci-fi fantasies. Physics soiled its own nest by removing itself from the real world. polistra

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