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Physical cosmology
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Galaxy filaments
The present day dark matter distribution in a slice cut through a simulation of a flat universe with cosmological constant. The distribution reveals fine, filamentary structures. The slice has a side length of 520 million light years, and a thickness of 100 million light years. It contains the so-called "supergalactic plane". The major nearby clusters, like Coma, Virgo, Perseus cluster, are labelled.[1]

In physical cosmology, filaments are the largest known structures in the universe, thread-like structures with a typical length of 50 to 80 megaparsecs h-1 that form the boundaries between large voids in the universe.[2] Filaments consist of gravitationally-bound galaxies; parts where a large number of galaxies are very close to each other are called superclusters.

Discoveries about "hyperclusters" (clusters of superclusters) started in the 1980s. In 1987 Astronomer R. Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy identified what he called the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex.[3][4] In 1989 the CfA2 Great Wall was discovered, [5] followed by the Sloan Great Wall in 2003.[6]

In 2006, scientists announced the discovery of three filaments aligned to form the largest structure known to humankind, composed of densely-packed galaxies and enormous blobs of gas known as Lyman alpha blobs.[7]





Filament subtype of filaments have roughly similar major and minor axes in cross-section, along the lengthwise axis.

Filaments of Galaxies
Filament Date Mean Distance Dimension Notes
Coma Filament The Coma Supercluster lies within the Coma Filament. [8] It forms part of the CfA2 Great Wall.[9]
Perseus-Pegasus Filament 1985 Connected to the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster, with the Perseus-Pisces Supercluster being a member of the filament. [10]
Ursa Major Filament Connected to the CfA Homunculus, a portion of the filament forms a portion of the "leg" of the Homunculus. [11]
Lynx-Ursa Major Filament (LUM Filament) 1999 from 2000km/s to 8000km/s in redshift space Connected to and separate from the Lynx-Ursa Major Supercluster. [11]
z=2.38 filament around protocluster ClG J2143-4423 2004 z=2.38 110Mpc A filament the length of the Great Wall was discovered in 2004. As of 2008, it was still the largest structure beyond redshift 2. [12] [13] [14] [15]

Galaxy walls

The Galaxy wall subtype of filaments have a significantly greater major axis than minor axis in cross-section, along the lengthwise axis.

Walls of Galaxies
Wall Date Mean Distance Dimension Notes
CfA2 Great Wall (Coma Wall, Great Wall, Northern Great Wall, Great Northern Wall, CfA Great Wall) 1989 z=0.03058 251Mpc long
750 Mly long
250 Mly wide
20 Mly thick
This was the first super-large large-scale structure or pseudo-structure in the universe to be discovered. It is also the second largest. The CfA Homunculus lies at the heart of the Great Wall, and the Coma Supercluster forms most of the homunculus structure. The Coma Cluster lies at the core. [16] [17]
Sloan Great Wall (SDSS Great Wall) 2005 z=0.07804 433Mpc long This is the largest known structure or pseudo-structure in the universe discovered so far. [16]
Sculptor Wall (Southern Great Wall, Great Southern Wall, Southern Wall) 8000km/s long
5000km/s wide
1000km/s deep
(in redshift space dimensions)
The Sculptor Wall is "parallel" to the Fornax Wall and "perpendicular" to the Grus Wall. [18] [19]
Grus Wall The Grus Wall is "perpendicular" to the Fornax and Sculptor Walls. [19]
Fornax Wall The Fornax Cluster is part of this wall. The wall is "parallel" to the Sculptor Wall and "perpendicular" to the Grus Wall. [18] [19]
  • A wall has been proposed to be the physical embodiment of the Great Attractor, with the Norma Cluster as part of this wall. This wall is also referred to as the Great Attractor Wall or Norma Wall. [20]
  • A wall has been proposed, in 2000, to lie at z=1.47 in the vicinity of radio galaxy B3 0003+387. [21]

Map of nearest galaxy walls

The Universe within 200 million Light Years, showing the nearest galaxy walls

Maps of large scale distribution


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bharadwaj, Somnath; Bhavsar, Suketu; Sheth, Jatush V. The Size of the Longest Filaments in the Universe. Astrophys.J. 606 (2004) 25-31
  3. ^ Massive Clusters of Galaxies Defy Concepts of the Universe N.Y. Times Tue. November 10, 1987:
  4. ^ Map of the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex:
  5. ^ M. J. Geller & J. P. Huchra, Science 246, 897 (1989).
  6. ^ Sky and Telescope, "Refining the Cosmic Recipe", 14 November 2003
  7. ^ Than, Ker (2006-07-28). "Scientists: Cosmic blob biggest thing in universe". Retrieved 2007-03-11.  
  8. ^ 'Astronomy and Astrophysics' (ISSN 0004-6361), vol. 138, no. 1, Sept. 1984, p. 85-92. Research supported by Cornell University "The Coma/A 1367 filament of galaxies" 09/1984 Bibcode1984A&A...138...85F
  10. ^ 'Astrophysical Journal', Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 299, Dec. 1, 1985, p. 5-14. "A possible 300 megaparsec filament of clusters of galaxies in Perseus-Pegasus" 12/1985 Bibcode1985ApJ...299....5B
  11. ^ a b 'The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series', Volume 121, Issue 2, pp. 445-472. "Photometric Properties of Kiso Ultraviolet-Excess Galaxies in the Lynx-Ursa Major Region" 04/1999 Bibcode1999ApJS..121..445T
  13. ^ 'The Astrophysical Journal', Volume 602, Issue 2, pp. 545-554. The Distribution of Lyα-Emitting Galaxies at z=2.38 02/2004 Bibcode2004ApJ...602..545P doi:10.1086/381145
  14. ^ 'The Astrophysical Journal', Volume 614, Issue 1, pp. 75-83. The Distribution of Lyα-emitting Galaxies at z=2.38. II. Spectroscopy 10/2004 Bibcode2004ApJ...614...75F doi:10.1086/423417
  15. ^ 'Relativistic Astrophysics Legacy and Cosmology - Einstein's, ESO Astrophysics Symposia', Volume . ISBN 978-3-540-74712-3. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2008, p. 358 Ultraviolet-Bright, High-Redshift ULIRGS 00/2008 Bibcode2008ralc.conf..358W
  16. ^ a b Chin. J. Astron. Astrophys. Vol. 6 (2006), No. 1, 35–42 Super-Large-Scale Structures in the Sloan Digital Sky SurveyPDF
  17. ^ 'Scientific American', Vol. 280, No. 6, p. 30 - 37 Mapping the UniversePDF (1.43 MB) 06/1999 Bibcode1999SciAm.280f..30L
  18. ^ a b c Unveiling large-scale structures behind the Milky Way. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 67; Proceedings of a workshop at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon; 18-21 January 1994; San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP); c1994; edited by Chantal Balkowski and R. C. Kraan-Korteweg, p.21 ; Visualization of Nearby Large-Scale Structures ; Fairall, A. P., Paverd, W. R., & Ashley, R. P. ; 1994ASPC...67...21F
  19. ^ a b c d 'Astrophysics and Space Science', Volume 230, Issue 1-2, pp. 225-235 Large-Scale Structures in the Distribution of Galaxies 08/1995 Bibcode1995Ap&SS.230..225F
  20. ^ World Science, Wall of galaxies tugs on ours, astronomers find April 19, 2006
  21. ^ 'The Astronomical Journal', Volume 120, Issue 5, pp. 2331-2337. B3 0003+387: AGN-Marked Large-Scale Structure at Redshift 1.47? 11/2000 Bibcode2000AJ....120.2331T doi:10.1086/316827
  22. ^ FermiLab, Astronomers Find Wall of Galaxies Traversing the Hubble Deep Field, DARPA, Monday, January 24, 2000
  23. ^ 'The Astronomical Journal', Volume 119, Issue 6, pp. 2571-2582 ; QSOS and Absorption-Line Systems surrounding the Hubble Deep Field ; 06/2000 ; doi:10.1086/301404 ; Bibcode2000AJ....119.2571V ;

Further reading

External links

See also


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