Our Galaxy is atypically positioned in the cosmos

The overall grand structure of the universe is that galaxies are scattered along filaments surrounding voids as illustrated in the simulation below:

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The large-scale structure of the universe.     Credit: Millennium Simulation Project

Two studies, one from 2013 and one from 2017, now confirm that not only is our own galaxy,  the Milky Way, located atypically in a void rather than a filament, but also that it is located in the largest known void – about 7 times larger than an average void.

The original study came to this conclusion on the basis of galaxy catalogues, whereas the new study measures the motions of galaxies by measuring changes to the energy of Cosmic Background Radiation which has passed through those galaxies. The motions of galaxy clusters indicates those regions of higher gravitational attraction. The two studies, by different means, are consistent.

This, statistically, is a very surprising result. It might suggest that there is something wrong with the underlying theory behind astrophysical measurements, it might be a statistical fluke, or there might be an, as yet, unthought-of explanation.

Live Science article

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