July 9, 2024 at 9:36 am

This Massive Void In The Universe Is 1.8 Billion Light Years Across

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I think most of us have joked at one point or another about being sucked into the void – physically or metaphorically.

That said, when you think about a place of actual black nothingness, it stirs a nameless fear deep inside us.

At least, it does for me.

And this particular void is absolutely massive -1.8 billion light years wide.

Astronomers spotted it in 1981, according to a paper published in 1986.

“We discovered that the redshift distributions in each of the three northern fields showed an identical 6,000 kilometers per second gap. Because these fields were separated by angles of -35°, this suggested the existence of a large void in the galaxy distribution of at least comparable angular diameter. The low density of this region is of high statistical significance and does not appear easily reconcilable with any of the popular models for the growth structure in the universe.”

Over the years, it’s become known as the Boötes Void, or the Great Nothing.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, while it is a void, it does contain a smattering of galaxies – just a lot fewer than observers expected to see.

“If we are to use a rough estimate of about one galaxy every 10 million light-years (four times farther than Andromeda), there should be approximately 2,000 galaxies in the Boötes Void.”

There are only around 60, and some wonder what the world might look like from inside the void.

Astronomer Greg Aldering explained that if “the Milky Way had been in the center of the Boötes void, we wouldn’t have known there were other galaxies until the 1960s.”

In 2015, a team found evidence of an even larger void that measures 1.8 billion light-years across.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The researchers that spotted it were looking toward a cold spot of the cosmic microwave background radiation, believing that the cold spot could lead them to another massive void.

While they did find this giant void, it’s actually not large enough to explain the cold spot.

And no messages from inside the void.

Better luck next time I guess.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about a second giant hole has opened up on the sun’s surface. Here’s what it means.