Do you have any idea what the largest feature in the observable universe is? A Hungarian-US team of astronomers have just identified a ring of nine gamma ray bursts that is no less than 5 billion light-years in diameter!
The discovery was reported by Professor Lajos Balazs, of Konkoly Observatory in Budapest, Hungary. The gamma-ray burst (GRB) is one of the brightest events in the universe. In just a few seconds, this kind of phenomenon can release more energy than the Sun would be able to in 10 billion years!
“An image of the distribution of GRBs on the sky at a distance of 7 billion light years, centred on the newly discovered ring. The positions of the GRBs are marked by blue dots and the Milky Way is indicated for reference, running from left to right across the image.” Credit: L. Balazs.
It is believed that this occurs when extremely massive stars collapse into black holes. Several international observatories were needed to validate the new discovery. This GRB is at an estimated distance of about 7 billion light-years from Earth.
“If we are right, this structure contradicts the current models of the universe. It was a huge surprise to find something this big – and we still don’t quite understand how it came to exist at all.” explained Professor Balazs. Researchers still need to understand how the ring originated and whether the formation of the already known galaxies may have influenced on it’s creation.
Source: Royal Astronomic Society