Studying one supercluster in the Great Wall has revealed a strange spider-like structure of galactic tendrils.
The 1.4 billion light-year long Great Wall structure was discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in 2003.
The largest supercluster in the Wall, SCl 126, is unusual compared to superclusters within other large-scale structures.
SCl 126 appears to be a hothouse of galactic mergers and astronomers are having a hard time modeling its formation.
Structure exists on nearly all scales in the universe. Matter clumps under its own gravity into planets, stars, galaxies, clusters, and superclusters.
Beyond even these in scale are the filaments and voids. The largest of these filaments is known as the Sloan Great Wall. This giant string of galaxies is 1.4 billion light years across making it the largest known structure in the universe.
Surprisingly, the Great Wall has never been studied in detail. Superclusters within it have been examined, but the wall as a whole has only come into consideration in a new paper from a team led by astronomers at Tartu Observatory in Estonia.