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Discovery of galactic filaments 50 million light-years long in the visible universe!

Discovery of galactic filaments 50 million light-years long in the visible universe!

Until recently, these leads were “elusive.” But now one discovery has been made and it's huge: we are traveling in the cosmic web of the observable universe

The universe consists of a “cosmic web” of thin, massive filaments of gas extending between giant clumps of matter (which is what our best models suggest). All we have seen so far with our telescopes are stars and galaxies in clusters of matter. Is the cosmic web real or an invention of our models? Can we confirm our models by directly detecting these faint filaments of gas?

Elusive leads

Cosmic galactic threads
On larger scales, matter in the universe is arranged in a form The cosmic web They consist of filaments of gas separated by voids, with clusters where the filaments meet.
Image source: Klaus Dollag, University of Munich Observatory, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

Until recently, these leads were elusive. But now a collaboration between Australian radio astronomers and German X-ray astronomers has discovered one. Telescope Ash cover The Australian Square Kilometer Array has begun producing a large-scale image of the planetbeing At radio frequencies. This telescope can see deeper than any other radio telescope, leading to new discoveries, such as the unexplained. You are looking for radio or ORC.

Radio waves and x-rays

Where is the radio?

This year also saw the publication of the first observations from the German space telescope Rosettewhich gives us the deepest, wide-ranging picture ofX-ray scientist. Both next-generation telescopes have the unprecedented ability to scan large areas of the sky simultaneously, so they are perfectly matched for studying features On a large scale of the universe. Together, they can achieve much more than they can alone. The first result of this collaboration is the discovery of cosmic filaments of hot gas. This study was conducted by Thomas Reberich University of Bonn e Markus Bruggen from the University of Hamburg and involved Australian scientists from CSIRO and Curtin, Macquarie, Monash and Western Sydney Universities.

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The cosmic web in the visible universe

I the great explosionAbout 13.8 billion years ago, it produced a universe filled with invisible dark matter, as well as a formless gas of hydrogen and helium, and little else. Over the next billion years, the gas collected under the influence of gravity, It forms threads of matter with wide spaces between them. The threads probably contain more than half the material in…beingAlthough the filaments themselves contain only ten particles per cubic meter, which is less than the best vacuum we can create on Earth.

Almost all the galaxies we see today, including our own Milky Way, are thought to have formed In these threads. The galaxies are then thought to slide along the filaments until they fall into dense clusters of galaxies clustered together at the intersection where the filaments meet. But until now, this was all hypothetical: we could see galaxies and clusters, but we couldn't see the gaseous filaments themselves. Now, eROSITA has directly detected hot gas in A The length of the filament is 50 million light-years. This is an important step forward, confirming the validity of our cosmic network model.

Hot gas flows smoothly

Radio signals

We also expected that the hot gas would raise electrons to produce them Radio frequency emissionsBut what is interesting is that we do not detect the filament using ASKAP. This tells us that the hot gas is flowing smoothly, without the turbulence that would speed up the production of electrons Where is the radio?. So galaxies become fluid when they “fall” into clusters. We can see individual galaxies splitting into groups in the ASKAP radio images. At radio wavelengths, we often see jets produced by the release of electrons near the black hole at the center of the galaxy.

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However, in radio images of these clusters, we see the jets bent and distorted by collisions with the intergalactic winds in the dense gas contained in the clusters. Again, this It's a good confirmation of our models. This work is not only important as a confirmation of our model beingBut it is also the first result derived from cooperation between… ASKAP and eROSITA. These two telescopes are completely identical for our telescope inspection beingSeeing it as it has never been seen before, we expect this discovery to be the first of many more.