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A Galactic Particle Collider And An Image Of 10,000 Galaxies

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I just got back from a local art fair, so it occurs to me that the Hubble is kind of like its own ready-made exhibit. I get lost in those images more than any paintings or sculptures, and space never fails to generate paradoxes and mind-boggling patterns. Today’s space news involves two such offerings: a particle collider and the best picture of the Milky Way, along with thousands of other galaxies.

While we have painstakingly created our own impressive particle colliders, the cosmos can do us one better. Five billion light years away, there’s a collision of galaxy clusters that are forming an accelerator estimated to be a million times stronger than the Large Hadron Collider. Clusters of this sort are the largest structures in the universe, and can consist of thousands of galaxies that continue piling up over billions of years as a result of collisions between smaller groupings.

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Scientists Believe A Black Hole Just Launched A Star Cluster Toward Earth

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StarBeing able to report science news of the magnitude that we did earlier this week is incredible. Science geeks all over the world speculated rabidly and awaited Monday’s announcement like it was Christmas, which it was, and then some. The only problem with such news — and I’m not complaining, mind you — is that the science news that comes after it may seem a bit less momentous. Not every discovery can be the Holy Grail, though, and of course every discovery about our planet and our universe matters. In the grand scheme of things, we still know far, far less than what we don’t know, and there are even more things we don’t know we don’t know. Such is the awesomeness of space, which has given us a few other amazing stories this week, including the news that there’s a star cluster currently barreling through the cosmos in our direction.

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Astronomers Discover Largest Structure In the Universe (So Far)

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Quasar

Quasar

Whenever astronomers talk about the universe, everything takes on a whole new scale. We’re talking light-years instead of miles, millions instead of hundreds, or often, trillions and billions instead of millions. Everything is so huge, and each time we learn more about just how huge, we seem smaller by comparison. Ready to feel really really small? Astronomers recently discovered the most massive structure on record. It’s a swath of space 10 billion light years across.

Before now, the biggest structure in space was a 73-quasar cluster called Huge-LQG (Large Quasar Group), which is about 4 billion light years across. Before that, it was the Sloan Great Wall, at 1.4 billion light years across. Given that light travels at about six trillion miles per year (over 670 million miles an hour), 10 billion lights years is approximately…super huge, and would take about forever and a day to traverse, speaking technically, of course.

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The Universe May End Sooner Than We Expected

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What will happen at the end of the world? It’s unclear when or how this cataclysmic event will happen but there’s always been the thought that we could prevent it. Maybe we could find another planet to live on after this one has become disposable. Some physicists now believe the Universe will end and everything will just stop existing because it is expanding too quickly.

The idea is called the Big Rip, which is when galaxies expand, eventually tearing matter apart . This is caused by a gravitationally repulsive force called dark energy and could apply to not just galaxies but the entire universe. This mystery matter can be attributed to the way the universe behaves. But the nature of dark energy is still a mystery to science even though it makes up about 70% of all the contents of the universe.