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Scientists discover new feature that makes the Milky Way unique

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of milky way It’s too big to be part of the universe, according to new research released Monday.

Our home galaxy is surrounded by a “cosmic wall”. This is a flat arrangement of galaxies surrounding other galaxies, with regions of the sky called “voids” on either side of the flat arrangement. Gaps appear to force galaxies into these flat arrays.

For the Milky Way, the walls are called local sheets. As usual, galaxy Much smaller than the walls that contain them, the Milky Way is surprisingly large compared to the local sheet.

“If you can easily see the nearest 12 or so large galaxies in the sky, you’ll find that they all lie roughly on a ring embedded in the local sheet,” says the man behind the new discovery. As one of the researchers, Joe Silk, explains: Royal Astronomical Society. “That in itself is a bit special. Our new finding is that other galaxy walls in the universe, like the local sheet, rarely have galaxies as massive as the Milky Way inside.” It means you can see it.”

Peer-reviewed research published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societyis based on computer simulations that are part of the IllustrisTNG project.

A lonely Milky Way analog galaxy too big for its walls. The background image shows the distribution of dark matter (green and blue) and galaxies (seen here as small yellow dots) within a thin slice of the cube expected to find one such rare massive galaxy. is shown. (Credit: Miguel A. Aragon-Calvo and the Illustris TNG project)

These projects simulated regions of the universe about a billion light-years across, containing millions of galaxies. Only about one-millionth of all galaxies included in the simulation were as large as the Milky Way and embedded in cosmic walls like local sheets.

Study says we need to avoid ‘Copernican bias’

The team of researchers behind the new findings indicated that the Milky Way’s special environment should be taken into account when running simulations to avoid “Copernicus bias.”

Copernicus bias is the Earth and milky way We understand that we are not the center of the universe, so we must assume that it is a perfectly average place in the universe.

When making simulations, astronomers often assume that any point in the simulation is as good as any other, but the team’s findings suggest that more precise location selection is important when making measurements. It shows that it is possible.

“So the Milky Way is kind of special,” says lead researcher Miguel Aragon in an article from the Royal Astronomical Society. “Earth is clearly special, the only one we know is home to life. But it’s not the center of the universe, nor the center of our solar system. Even our galaxy looked like another spiral galaxy among billions of other galaxies in the observable universe.”

“To find another cosmic wall that contains a galaxy like ours, we may have to travel 500 million light-years from the Milky Way, passing many galaxies.”

Head of Research Miguel Aragon

“To find another cosmic wall with a galaxy like ours, we may have to travel 500 million light years from the Milky Way, passing many galaxies,” Aragón added. . “It’s hundreds of times further away than the nearest large galaxy around us, Andromeda.”

Another member of the team, Dr. Mark Neyrink, emphasized that researchers should be careful when identifying certain traits as “special.”

“If we add extraordinarily restrictive conditions to the galaxy, such as it must contain the papers we write about it, we will certainly be the only such galaxy in the observable universe. But I think this is “too big for that wall” enough to exclaim that the property is physically meaningful, observationally relevant, and truly special. ”

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