3D illustration shows the position of the galaxies and reveals the extent of this gigantic structure. The galaxies located in the newly discovered structure are shown in red. Galaxies that are either in front or behind the structure are shown in blue.  Credit: ESO

Do “Skeleton” Filaments Give Structure to the Universe?

3 Nov , 2009 by

This 3D illustration shows the position of the galaxies and reveals the extent of this gigantic structure. The galaxies located in the newly discovered structure are shown in red. Galaxies that are either in front or behind the structure are shown in blue. Credit: ESO

Are there “skeletons” out in the Universe –structures that form the framework of how galaxies are distributed? Astronomers have tracked down a gigantic, previously unknown assembly of galaxies located almost seven billion light-years away from us, which seems to point to a prominent galaxy structure in the distant Universe, providing further insight into the cosmic web and how it formed. “Matter is not distributed uniformly in the Universe,” says Masayuki Tanaka from ESO, who led the new study. “In our cosmic vicinity, stars form in galaxies and galaxies usually form groups and clusters of galaxies. The most widely accepted cosmological theories predict that matter also clumps on a larger scale in the so-called ‘cosmic web’, in which galaxies, embedded in filaments stretching between voids, create a gigantic wispy structure.”

The filament is located about 6.7 billion light-years away from us and extends over at least 60 million light-years. The newly uncovered structure does probably extend further, beyond the field probed by the team, and hence future observations have already been planned to obtain a definite measure of its size.

These filaments are millions of light years long and constitute the skeleton of the Universe: galaxies gather around them, and immense galaxy clusters form at their intersections, lurking like giant spiders waiting for more matter to digest. Scientists are struggling to determine how they swirl into existence. Although massive filamentary structures have been often observed at relatively small distances from us, solid proof of their existence in the more distant Universe has been lacking until now.

The galaxies located in the newly discovered structure are shown in red. Galaxies that are either in front or behind the structure are shown in blue.  Credit: ESO

The galaxies located in the newly discovered structure are shown in red. Galaxies that are either in front or behind the structure are shown in blue. Credit: ESO


The team led by Tanaka discovered a large structure around a distant cluster of galaxies in images they obtained earlier. They have now used two major ground-based telescopes to study this structure in greater detail, measuring the distances from Earth of over 150 galaxies, and, hence, obtaining a three-dimensional view of the structure. The spectroscopic observations were performed using the VIMOS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope and FOCAS on the Subaru Telescope, operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

With these and other observations, the astronomers were able to make a real demographic study of this structure, and have identified several groups of galaxies surrounding the main galaxy cluster. They could distinguish tens of such clumps, each typically ten times as massive as our own Milky Way galaxy — and some as much as a thousand times more massive — while they estimate that the mass of the cluster amounts to at least ten thousand times the mass of the Milky Way. Some of the clumps are feeling the fatal gravitational pull of the cluster, and will eventually fall into it.

Image of the assembly of galaxies. Credit: ESO

Image of the assembly of galaxies. Credit: ESO


“This is the first time that we have observed such a rich and prominent structure in the distant Universe,” says Tanaka. “We can now move from demography to sociology and study how the properties of galaxies depend on their environment, at a time when the Universe was only two thirds of its present age.”

Source: ESO



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Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
November 3, 2009 7:03 AM
This web might well reflect some small inhomogeneous perturbation in the early universe. These webs are likely composed largely of dark matter, which I think at lowest energy is composed of neutralinos. These are condensates of supersymmetric partners of the Higgs, and the neutral electroweak particles, the photon and Z. As I posted on the blog area about the Milky Way galaxy there is evidence of dark matter decay or annihilation. So the inflationary phase of the universe likely saw small regions with different energy density and differential nucleation regions for the phase transition between various states of matter. It would be interesting to know if there are higher signatures of inverse Compton scattered e-e^+ pairs on these… Read more »
Sili
Member
Sili
November 3, 2009 7:03 AM

Cue cries of “Dark Matter is a LIE” in 10, 9, 8 …

ioresult
Member
November 3, 2009 9:26 AM

“Galaxies that are either in front or behind the structure are shown in blue.” I guess you mean “green”?

ioresult
Member
November 3, 2009 9:32 AM

The illustration shows a widening field of view. I’m wondering what that pyramid shape would look like if we were to take into account the expansion of the universe, and conversely, it’s shrinking size the further away we look, because we’re looking in the past, when the universe was significantly smaller…
I guess near us, our “cone field of view” would expand linearly, but as we’re looking further into the past, it would slowly stop expanding and start shrinking and we’d start seeing smaller things instead of bigger things… I wonder at what distance that cone of view would start shrinking instead of widening?

SteveZodiac
Member
SteveZodiac
November 3, 2009 9:43 AM

I’m sure it can all be explained by stretching space-time by just the right amount to fit the theories

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
November 3, 2009 10:13 AM

ioresult, that pyramid shape should be what we see when we look further away/further back in time.

The universe expansion is over all hyperbolic, despite different rates, so AFAIU theoretically you should see a lot of crowding just before everything gets redshifted out of observational signal. That is, you see more early galaxies, not less. Which is quite consistent with expectations, at least mine.

MC Escher has made a sketch with such a topology, tiled with horses IIRC, which has been used for illustration. I wish I could find it now.

Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
November 3, 2009 10:35 AM
This work is similar to a recent paper on the forming supercluster of galaxies Abell 901/ Abell 902 (see: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0910/0910.5718v2.pdf ) . In that case four distinct subunits of galaxy clusters are in the process of merging, creating in places filamentary structures similar to the one mentioned in the article. And, as with the above mentioned cluster, the components are all apparently Dark Matter dominated. Great to see the observational evidence of DM gain a more stable footing. These objects, after all, are the largest gravitationally bound objects in our universe. Maybe now would be a good time to write an article on the recent discovery of a ‘Ferni Haze’ around our galaxy’s nucleus and its implication wrt… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 3, 2009 11:43 AM
Torbjorn Larsson OM Says,”MC Escher has made a sketch with such a topology, tiled with horses IIRC, which has been used for illustration. I wish I could find it now.” That would pertain to the anti de Sitter spacetime corresponding to the de Sitter spacetime, which approximates our observed universe. The Escher diagram is an example of the Poincare disk, which has a PSL(2,Z) structure. The discrete Z corresponds to the modular structure of the space x –> (ax + b)/(cx + d) with ac – bd = 1 The hyperbolic spacetime in the AdS is similar to this with a projective Lorentz structure. There are of course some similar features with the de Sitter spacetime. This is… Read more »
mharratsc
Member
November 3, 2009 12:12 PM
Jon Hanford said: “And, as with the above mentioned cluster, the components are al apparently Dark Matter dominated. Great to see the observational evidence of DM gain a more stable footing. These objects, after all, are the largest gravitationally bound objects in our universe.” I think the ibservations are colored by pre-conceived notions, myself. You see “observational evidence of DM..”, but I see something that looks like “beads on a string” Bennett pinch instabilities in a very llarge Birkland current. Did you know, by the way, that this very effect noted in this report was actually *predicted* in the Plasma model? Arp has diagrammed this on smaller scales in our local arm, also- this just the next scale… Read more »
Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
November 3, 2009 12:26 PM

Would the M.C. Escher print mentioned above be the “Horseman” woodcut from 1946 ( )? Sort of a modified mobius strip.

Nereid
Member
Nereid
November 3, 2009 12:55 PM

@mharratsc: that wouldn’t be a case of “if it looks like a bunny rabbit, it must be a bunny rabbit” would it?

Specifically, in which paper(s) – published in relevant, peer-reviewed journals – was this predicted (“this very effect noted in this report was actually *predicted* in the Plasma model”)?

Ditto Arp.

And please, no links to websites that do not contain direct references to actual papers …

Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
November 3, 2009 12:58 PM
@mharratsc, I’m be most interested to read any peer reviewed, published predictions using this ‘Plasma model’ of this particular galaxy cluster. Actually, I’d be interested in any “Plasma model’ predictions of any specific galaxy cluster (like Abell 901-902, The Bullet Cluster, Abell 426, Abell 2218, etc.) and see how the authors compare observed phenomena as interpreted by the Standard Model vs. the ‘Plasma model’. What predictions does the ‘Plasma model’ make concerning the gravitational arcs in Abell 370 in terms of the mass distribution and the distribution of ionized gas in the Intra Cluster Medium? What does the SED look like in a lensing galaxy cluster using the ‘Plasma model’ compared to results obtained using current astrophysical models?… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 3, 2009 1:38 PM

Uh oh, another EU guy here. The Escher prints which are more relevant are the “limit circles” on the Escher website above.

LC

ioresult
Member
November 3, 2009 2:43 PM

Torbjorn Larsson OM, did you mean these pictures?
http://www.josleys.com/show_gallery.php?galid=325

ioresult
Member
November 3, 2009 2:45 PM

Torbjorn Larsson OM: Ah I think I see what you mean. Wow, I didn’t realize that. That universe of ours is huge!

RBH
Member
RBH
November 3, 2009 4:29 PM

Nancy wrote “These filaments are millions of light years long and constitute the skeleton of the Universe: galaxies gather around them, and immense galaxy clusters form at their intersections, lurking like giant spiders waiting for more matter to digest. ”

There’s an interesting causal hypothesis lurking in the verbs of that sentence. Is it justified?

Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
November 3, 2009 4:53 PM
Did you know, by the way, that this very effect noted in this report was actually *predicted* in the Plasma model? [blah blah…]. Here’s another prediction to go with these latest observations: Since plasma behaviors [blah blah…], we can use existing observations to allow us to predict that [blah blah…]. This predicted plasma will display [blah blah… blah]. That boast by mharratsc reminds me of those adverts that you see in the Racing Post (and other horse racing journals) boasting 10/1, 25/1, 33/1, and 50/1 winners “predicted” by their “genuine system” horse form analysis book that will “take the bookies to the cleaners and hang them out to dry”, which you can have for just £49.99! Yeah, right(!).… Read more »
mharratsc
Member
November 3, 2009 5:04 PM
@ Jon- Really, you would listen to me now, after Peratt has documented so many. IEEE-reviewed papers on the nature of interstellar currents and the behaviors of plasmas ‘way out there’?? Go on- pull the other one! I think if I bothered to link anything at all, you would refute its veracity because it easn’t ratified as dogma by your Approved Thinking Dept., Jon. It amazes me how dogmatic you guys are- you’re not allowed to even THINK outside of. Your en vogue theory. That’s not good empirical science, you know. I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I’m a layman, isn’t it? I’m sure it is, no need to answer that. Know what convinced me that the Plasma… Read more »
Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
November 3, 2009 5:07 PM

Correction; that should be: bookies’ businesses.

mharratsc
Member
November 3, 2009 5:11 PM

Existence! By contrast, the Plasma guys showed me details of plasma physics and how they’re scalar to all observable orders of magnitude. No-brainer, IMHO.

But I digress.

I’ve made a simple prediction- let’s see if it comes true. That simple. Easily falsifiable, as it SHOULD BE (wink wink nudge nudge).

I leave it at that, since I typed all this on my G1’s keypad and my thumbs are now cramping… razz

See ya when the results come in!

smile

wpDiscuz