Intergalactic wall: Stretch of galaxies some 1.4 bn light-years long discovered in the universe

The structure stretches across the southern border of the universe, and comprises thousands of galaxies and huge amounts of gas and dust.


Scientists have found an intergalactic “wall” of galaxies that’s at least 1.4 billion light-years long. It is considered as one of the largest structures in the known universe.

The study published in The Astrophysical Journal tells about the discovery of the South Pole Wall, which is a structure that stretches across the southern border of the universe.

The structure comprises thousands of galaxies and huge amounts of gas and dust.

According to MIT Technology Reviewgalaxies aren’t just spread randomly throughout the universe. Rather, they collect into larger groupings of massive filaments, which are separated by giant voids of nearly empty space. These filaments are basically a wall of galaxies that stretch for hundreds of millions of light-years.

Astronomers have found one of the largest structures in the known universe—a wall of galaxies. Image: MIT Review

Astronomers have found one of the largest structures in the known universe—a wall of galaxies. Image: MIT Review

There are similar, known walls in the universe like the South Pole Wall, including the Great Wall, the Sloan Great Wall, the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, and the Bootes Void.

What makes the South Pole Wall especially interesting is that it is close to the Milky Way galaxy, lying just 500 million light-years away, ScienceAlert reported. It is the most massive structure scientists have ever seen this close to our own Milky Way galaxy.

The researchers also discovered one of the largest galaxy filaments near our galaxy quite late, hidden behind what the Zone of Avoidance or Zone of Galactic Obscuration, reported ScienceAlert. This region in the southern part of the sky is so brightly light by the Milky Way that it blocks out much of what's behind or around it.

The study was carried out by a team of researchers led by cosmographer Daniel Pomarède of the Paris-Saclay University. They used a database called Cosmicflows-3 containing distance calculations to nearly 18,000 galaxies.


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