The mysterious structure was spotted nine billion light-years from Earth. This necessarily means that since the light from it has traveled to us for nine billion years, it must have been around a little more than four billion years after the Big Bang.
We're talking about a giant ring with a diameter of about 1.3 billion light-years. For comparison, our Milky Way galaxy, which is not a small galaxy, is only 100,000 light-years in diameter. Here we have a tail of galaxies more than 10,000 times the diameter. Scientists point out that with these dimensions, this structure constitutes an important part of the entire visible universe, which is currently estimated at 94 billion light-years.
We all know the size of the full moon in the night sky, right? It is so large because it is relatively close to us, only 360,000 kilometers from Earth. Light travels the distance from the Moon to Earth in just over a second. It so happens that the Sun, which is incomparably larger than the Moon, but also much further away (150 million km / 8 light minutes), when viewed from the Earth, is also the size of a full Moon (thanks to this, we can and do observe a total solar eclipse from time to time). So you can ask yourself how big this “super ring” is in the night sky, considering that it is located 9 billion light-years away from us. The discovery's authors believe that if we were able to see it, its diameter in Earth's sky would be 15 times larger than the diameter of the full moon. It is simply unimaginable.
Read also: It shouldn't be in space, but it is – The Great Arc is 3.3 billion light-years long
The scientists behind the ring's discovery have already recorded other large, record-breaking structures. These astronomers are responsible for discovering the Big Sagittarius. These are very interesting structures. Our current cosmological knowledge cannot explain how such large structures could form so quickly after the Big Bang. Clearly, our knowledge is missing some important elements.
The cosmological principle states that the universe is homogeneous on its largest scale, and at this stage of its evolution there should be no structures larger than 1.2 billion light-years across. This limitation is due to the time required to create such objects.
The discovery of the Great Ring was made possible thanks to detailed analysis of quasar data collected as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The quasar's light illuminated galaxies extremely distant and almost invisible to researchers. Combining these data allowed us to see a ring of galaxies clearly visible in the sky, which is certainly not an illusion and not a coincidence. Understanding the process of forming the Great Ring or Great Arc will certainly take some time. However, scientists have an unsolved mystery in front of them, and this is the best thing that could happen to them.
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