Scientists from the University of Western Australia led by Mehmet Alpaslan discovered that galaxies, which can be occasionally found in the huge empty regions of the universe that lie between the main galaxy clusters, are not scattered in this “desert” chaotically, but rather are aligned into relatively short strings.
According to modern views, the universe is full of large clusters of galaxies, which are embedded in an intricate network of even greater clusters and nodes connected by thin galactic “threads”. This structure is sometimes called a cosmic web, between the cells of which, as commonly believed, there is emptiness.
Of course, even in such regions there are galaxies, but they are few, as astronomers believe, one or two, unlike the hundreds of galaxies in large clusters.
Until now it was thought that the dark voids between the cosmic web cells do not contain any organized structures and the distribution of rare galaxies in such regions is random.
Using data from the “Anglo – Australian Telescope,” Dr. Alpaslan and his colleagues tried to explore these small populations of “galaxies of the void” and found out that some of them are organized into structures which did not previously come to the attention of scientists.
“We found small “threads” of just a few galaxies, permeating the “empty” space region,” said the researcher. “We called this new structure “tendrils”. On average, each of them has about six galaxies, and the whole structure stretches just a few megaparsecs.”
The authors of the finding suggest that the true dimensions of the “empty” space regions (voids) may be much smaller than previously thought. The so-called isolated galaxies in these regions are in fact the brightest members of the “tendrils”, while fainter galaxies cannot be found without a thorough study of voids.
Watch this beautiful simulation of the Cosmic Web showing clusters of galaxies and the voids between them: