An international team of astronomers led by the University of Central Lancashire in the UK has discovered "the largest known structure in the universe." The team says that the recently observed large quasar group — comprised of dozens of highly energetic star-like objects — has a typical size of 500 Megaparsecs, but the size of the cluster is closer to 1200 Mpc at its widest point. To put that into perspective, the distance between our own Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda is about 0.75 Mpc.
The discovery has larger implications for the study of cosmology too. Albert Einstein’s Cosmological Principle states that the universe looks the same regardless of the observation point when viewed at a large enough scale. Einstein’s principle — combined with modern cosmological theories — suggests that astronomers shouldn’t be able to find structures larger than 370 Mpc. This particular large quasar group isn’t the only structure to question Einstein’s theory either: the team is also looking at "similar cases which add further weight to [the] challenge." The group of astronomers say that they will continue their research in the meantime.
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