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Bubble of galaxies

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context:  Astronomers have discovered a massive “bubble of galaxies” in the nearby universe, approximately 820 million light years away from our Milky Way galaxy.

  • This cosmic structure spans a billion light years in diameter, making it about 10,000 times wider than our galaxy.
  • Inside the bubble, there is the Bootes supercluster of galaxies, surrounded by a vast void referred to as “the Great Nothing.”
  • The discovery confirms a phenomenon first theorized by cosmologist Jim Peebles in 1970, where sound waves created bubbles in the early universe, and these structures have been preserved over time.

This bubble, named Ho’oleilana, represents the first known single baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) and was discovered by chance during a search through new galaxy catalogues. The finding opens the possibility of discovering more such bubbles across the universe using advanced telescopes.

Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) are regular, periodic fluctuations or ripples in the distribution of matter (primarily baryonic matter, which includes protons and neutrons) in the universe.

These oscillations are a fundamental feature of the large-scale structure of the cosmos and provide important clues about its geometry, expansion rate, and the distribution of dark matter and dark energy.