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back to article Unbelievably vast quasar cluster forces universe-sized rethink

It’s there, but it shouldn’t be: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has found a quasar cluster so large that it demands a re-assessment of theories about the universe. The problem with the Large Quasar Group is this: it’s too big. One of the assumptions astronomers draw from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is that at the large …

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Space is big.

You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

(c) Douglas Adams

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Space is big.

OK Douglas, isn't it time you stopped being dead for tax reasons like your friend Hotblack Desiato?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Space is big.

Mr Desiato is apparently back amongst the living, and is currently working as an expensive London estate agent.... or should I say "residential consultant". How art the mighty fallen, etc.

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Silver badge

Re: Space is big.

So he has returned to his original profession, though apparently not his partnership with Hotblack.

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Silver badge

Re: Space is big.

Adams named the character after the business.

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Buses, huh?

Well, assuming the standard London double-decker bus length of 8.4 m, then the Milky Way would measure 112,627,743,721,200,000,000 buses across! I suppose we could round this up to 113 sextillion buses...besides, sextillion has a certain ring to it! As far as the Virgo Cluster, it's 113 septillion buses across.

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: Buses, huh?

Wouldn't a line of busses that long be unstable due to self-gravity? Before you can finish placing them, they'd be getting all kinky...

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Joke

Re: Buses, huh?

What's that in BoJo buses?

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Re: Buses, huh?

...that would mean they'd all turn up at once.

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: Buses, huh?

"...that would mean they'd all turn up at once."

IF by once you mean over >4 billion years then yes

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Buses, huh?

Or 113 exabusses.

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Silver badge

Re: Buses, huh?

You wait ages for one bus, and then ...

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Re: Buses, huh?

Just be thankful it's not bendy buses. You'd need a bit less of them, but half of them would be on fire.

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Joke

Re: Buses, huh?

So THAT'S how starts are born!

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Joke

Re: Buses, huh?

My God... it's full of buses!

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Re: Buses, huh?

I think you'll find it's about the same size as Wales.

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Silver badge
Headmaster

@Silverburn

less ≠ fewer

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Unhappy

"astrophysical models have suggested that 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure."

There's a joke in there somewhere, but damned if I can make it happen.

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Joke

How about ....

Yo mamma so fat they have to re-write the laws of physics.

Yo mamma so fat the ran out of busses to compare her with.

and so on.

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Happy

Re: How about ....

Yo mamma so fat even Einstein said "daaayyyym"

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Coat

Re: How about ....

yo momma's so fat she is uniform in every direction

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Thumb Up

Re: How about ....

Dammit, I came on here to say " Yo momma's so fat she demands a re-assessment of theories about the universe." thinking I was being all hip and street and original, and you guys got there first with funnier variations.

You guys... :)

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Joke

Re: How about ....

Your mamma's so fat she's the source of the unvierse's gravity.

I do though still prefer the classic...

Your mamma's so fat, when she fell down the stairs everyone thought Eastenders was coming on.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

Re: The Microsoft Security Hole Cluster

@holyfreakinghost take it easy on Eadon, he's the one who failed an MCP exam so he doesn't have a choice. If anyone else ever fails one they will probably also come on here and rage against MS :)

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Linux

Re: The Microsoft Security Hole Cluster

You do wonder where Eadon got his silver badge. That's more worrying! Maybe it's a carrot to encourage him to spurt rubbish Windows 8 as a craft marketing tool under assistance of the El Reg bods...

No question silly, unless it's "is more than 5 buses in a row too many?" Maybe the duck knows the answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Microsoft Security Hole Cluster

Yeah, just try to let it go Eadon. I failed my first MCP too, but lots of people do. It's nothing to be ashamed of, just try harder next time. I've got a copy of Windows 7 for Dummies that will help you. Feel free to borrow it if you like.

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FAIL

Re: The Microsoft Security Hole Cluster

Errr...Isn't the first MCP exam entitled "Windows XP/7"?

The "Active Directory design" one maybe...a few fail that...but the "XP/7" one...?

<-- in more ways than one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Microsoft Security Hole Cluster

@silverburn, Err no, you're wrong. The first MCP exam is the one you choose to take first. It can be any you like but most people take the client exam as it tends to be easiest. That said many people fail their first exam as they are not familiar with the format and or depth of knowledge required. And officially it's not an MCP any more. That said I'm sure my book would help Eadon, as would a self help title I have on learning leave grudges behind.

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Paris Hilton

Can't make sense of this article

73 quasars distributed over four billion light years is not particularly dense. As is commonly supposed, a quasar is a black holse swallowing up stuff in the center of forming galaxies. If you see 73, you are looking down the axis of rotation of those holes in 73 cases. Doesn't sound a particularly surprising surprise, there must be tens of thousands of galaxies over 4 billion lys

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Boffin

Re: Can't make sense of this article

It doesn't have to be dense. It just has to be gravitationally bound.

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Silver badge

Re: Can't make sense of this article

It doesn't say anything about gravitationally bound or not.

Looks more like the expectation is that the universe's map should be greyish overall but now there is wrinkly black smudge in the corner. A fractal appears?

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Re: Can't make sense of this article

The point of the original assumption that this observation makes less likely was that mathematically for the universe to appear to be the same for all observers then the largest such 'smudge' would be 1.2 billion light years, anything bigger would produce a big enough difference in the 'texture' of the universe that it would look different to different observers.

So whilst there are random variations in the appearance of the universe, these variations reach the level of non-randomness once they grow to more than the 1.2 billion light year size - it's like looking at the random fuzz on a TV showing just static, how many black pixels would need to cluster together before you started thinking they were not random after all ? This cluster is a big block of black pixels together which suggests that either it's not random or the assumption is wrong.

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Silver badge

Re: Can't make sense of this article

Well, someone has already been editing the article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_cosmology

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Boffin

Re: A fractal appears

If a fractal indeed appears, it will be a scary discovery. I'm no Ph.D., but I think it may hint at some underlying properties of spacetime itself, namely, it not being 3-dimensional, perhaps even of non-integer dimension.

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Boffin

Re: Can't make sense of this article

My first thought about all this was that it is stupid to assume that something random is going to be even on any scale - nothing that is _truly_ random actually looks like it is.

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Silver badge

Re: Can't make sense of this article

But that is what randomness means (and there rather good definitions based on Kolmogorov complexity) - it is very very unlikely to yield anything beyond grayness.

That's why there are not many voices from the dead in white noise.

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Boffin

Re: Can't make sense of this article

Finally a good explanation:

You, Andromeda, And The Largest Structure In The Universe

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jai
Silver badge

That Einstein, eh? Always making assumptions to cut corners and avoid the hard work.

Well you know what they about assumptions? it makes an ass out of you and... and... mptions?

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This is just fine with Car model.

"With its 73 members spanning four billion light years, the Large Quasar Group is a theoretical inconvenience, because astrophysical models have suggested that 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure."

This is always fine with structure of the Universe; "Cloud & rain model". This observation gives advantages to "Car model" against "The Big bang theory".

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WTF?

1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure

I refuse to believe that there *is* an upper limit for the size of a structure.

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Bronze badge

Re: 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure

It depends on your compiler.

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Re: 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure

Similarly, I have always refused to accept the speed of light as the upper limit of speed.

Sure it may be the speed at which we can perceive anything, but it always seemed a bit arbitrary. I don't have a degree in physics, but I would imagine that travelling at that speed, to an observer you'd be past before they see you pass, but this to me is no different from Concorde - you see it pass before you hear it.

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Thumb Up

Re: 1.2 billion light years was the upper limit for the size of a structure

@HolyFreakinGhost

Excellent response that answers my lay-understanding of physics.

Have an upvote!

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Headmaster

....I have always refused to accept the speed of light as the upper limit of speed.

I've recommended this here before, but Relativity and Common Sense (by Hermann Bondi) is a good introduction from first principles to the strange things that happen at high speeds. It makes no assumptions about your knowledge - you just need to know a bit of obvious classical mechanics and be able to follow some simple algebra and diagrams.

Excellent book. Convinced me when I was a 6th former and thought as you did. My Physics teacher recommended it to me.

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