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A new three-dimensional map of the Universe developed by an international team of astronomers from several universities has just revealed the presence of one of the largest structures cosmic discovered up to now by the man: a “wall” of a size inconceivable that extends over 1,400 million light years away and contains hundreds of thousands of galaxies. As a reminder, it is enough to think that a single light year is equivalent to something over 9.4 billion km The spectacular finding was just published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Named by their discoverers “Wall” of the South Pole” , this gigantic structure has remained hidden until now because most of it is located around 500 million light-years away just behind the Milky Way. Is our own galaxy, therefore, what prevents us from seeing the massive wall, like a building prevents us from seeing what is behind him. The Wall of the South Pole rivaling in size with the Great Wall of Sloan, the sixth largest cosmic structure discovered to date.

for many years now, scientists have come to realize that galaxies are not distributed randomly by the Universe, but are grouped in a very practical way to give rise to the so-called “cosmic web”, gigantic strands of hydrogen in which the galaxies are strung like pearls on a necklace. Threads, as is the case with the spider webs intersect with each other to form nodes in more dense and in which the number of galaxies is greater. On both sides of each strand, open up huge gaps in which there is virtually no matter, and, therefore, stars or galaxies. This is the form that has, to a large scale, the Universe in which we live.

to Make maps of the distribution of these colossal structures, galactic is part of the job of cosmologists, and until now the absolute record belongs to the Great Wall of Hercules-Corona Borealis, which spreads over more than 10,000 million light years, almost one tenth of the observable Universe (with a diameter of 93,000 million light years).

Daniel Pomarede, of the University of Paris-Saclay and the principal author of this work, released in 2104, along with their colleagues, the supercluster of Laniakea, the “continent of the galaxy” of which we are part, about 520 million light years across and with a mass equivalent to that of a hundred billion suns.

Behind the Milky Way

For this new map, Pomarede and his team used several recent studies of the sky to try to figure out what it is that is in a region called the “Zone of Obscuration on a Galactic, just the part of the sky in which the bright light of the Milky Way obscures the view of the greater part of what is behind.

To get to take a look at that area, the researchers observed the movements of the galaxies, focusing both in its displacement towards the red (how fast they seem to be moving away from the Earth) and in the “dances” that made some around the other due to their gravity fields.

The advantage of this method is that it can detect dark matter, which is invisible to our instruments since it emits no radiation whatsoever, but that influences gravitationally in the way of moving of the galaxies that we can see. In this way, Pomarede and his colleagues were able to get an idea of the three-dimensional distribution of matter within and around the Area of Obscuration on a Galactic. And with these data they developed a three-dimensional map.

The map shows a fascinating bubble of matter centered more or less on the most southern point in the sky, with a huge sweep wing that extends towards the north, in the direction of the constellation Cetus, and the other arm thicker than it does in the opposite direction, towards the constellation of Apus.

In their article, the researchers warn that it is possible to still have not been able to observe in its entirety the vast Wall of the South Pole. “We are not sure of their full extent -they write – up that let us make maps of the Universe on a scale significantly greater”.