Gigantic Voids are Expanding and Shrinking

The Local Void: 150 million light years across (Credit: NASA)

The Local Void: 150 million light years across (Credit: NASA)

Very few researchers are studying our Universe’s largest structures, but here’s a nice analysis of Voids,  some of the largest structures “we’ve” found so far.

Voids are nearly spherical regions of our universe with few galaxies. They can be described as galaxies on the surface of soap bubbles. One void appears some 3.5 billion (that’s with a “B”) light years across. The largest one confirmed is called the Giant Void at 1.3 Billion light years across.

If you are like me (and most cosmologists), you might have assumed Voids were relatively stable.

Well, apparently not . . .

 Along comes some clever research and analysis using calculations, which found voids are moving and changing size. Small voids are shrinking and large voids expanding; in a seemingly coherent semi-rapid fashion.

A team lead by  Diego G. Lambas of Argentina’s National University of Cordoba examined some 245 voids using Sloan Digital Sky Survey data.

Void in Bootes (Sometimes called "Great Void" this is not the same as the Giant Void in the constellation Canes Venatic.) Credit: Richard Powell, An Atlas of the Universe

Void in Bootes (Sometimes called “Great Void” this is not the same as the Giant Void in the constellation Canes Venatic.) Credit: Richard Powell, An Atlas of the Universe

While it is not currently possible to examine the sideways motion of  a Void or a galaxy, they did look at the apparent recession velocities of the Voids and found some new dynamics. They found that some Voids move at 300–400 kilometres per second faster than their surroundings indicate.

Not just moving, Changing Size

It appears the smaller Voids are shrinking and the larger Voids are expanding.

The researchers hypothesize that gravity in denser parts of the cosmic web of the neighboring walls and filaments is pulling the smaller voids together. In contrast, larger voids tend to occur in less dense areas where gravity from surrounding filaments is pulling them apart.

 # # #

References: “The sparkling Universe: the coherent motions of cosmic voids,” by Diego G. Lambas, Marcelo Lares, Laura Ceccarelli, Andrés N. Ruiz, Dante J. Paz, Victoria E. Maldonado, Heliana E. Luparello

Vast cosmic voids merge like soap bubbles, by Ron Cowen, Nature, Oct 2015


This entry was posted in Analysis, Dynamics, Observations Change Ideas, Research, Structure and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gigantic Voids are Expanding and Shrinking

  1. mark moody says:

    You are going to call me crazy and never contact me but I have to try.
    I’m a theoretical physicist I’m in the process of publishing a new paper this week. That proves the connection between galaxies and atoms. Not some quack Theory real proof mathematically empirically and every way possible. The size of a Galaxy or the size of an atom is irrelevant to the universe they are the same. This being so. Leads me to question when we tear apart Atoms what are we really doing to the universe. During my scientific investigation in other areas, I found a lot of information that leads me to think at least the void that we are in the middle of now. Maybe directly related to our actions on Earth. If I am correct it’s very serious. It would at least warrant a small investigation on your part just on the off-chance that I’m correct. If I am correct give you the story of a lifetime and I’m always correct.

    • Stephen Garner says:

      Your claim that the size of an atom and the size of a galaxy are irrelevant to the universe is patently false. The universe is quite concerned with the scale of things. It’s that very concern that gives rise to the structure and nature of our universe in fact. The reason is that fundamental forces have ranges of influence. A galaxy is affected by the gravitational force predominately where as an atom is dominated by the strong and electroweak forces.

Leave a Reply