Posts Tagged ‘Astronomy’

The Largest Structures in Existence

February 24, 2008

Scientists have discovered the largest known structures in existence: giant strings and sheets of dark matter that connect the galaxies of the universe. 270 light years in diameter, these structures are three times larger than any other known structure and 2,000 times larger than the galaxy. Because you can’t see dark matter, these were found by analyzing the way light appears when it travels through them. Eventually, they should be able to create some diagrams of what this thing looks like. I’m very curious to see what that will look like, particularly in comparison to the map of the universe. This stuff is really interesting and Will Wright has based part of his design for Spore on the Powers of Ten, so I’m sure he’ll find time to read about these dark matter webs eventually.

One interesting question in astronomy that I’ve never really seen asked or answered is just where all this stuff is in the now. By the time light from a distant galaxy reaches us, millions of years have passed. This means the galaxy doesn’t look like how it does in the telescope and it isn’t in the same place. To calculate a sort of ‘now map’ you’d have to find the trajectory of all these objects – a huge task as there are billions of galaxies out there.

Check here for more great information on this stuff including universe maps.