Mapping the Universe

Science  17 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4932, pp. 897-903
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4932.897


Maps of the galaxy distribution in the nearby universe reveal large coherent structures. The extent of the largest features is limited only by the size of the survey. Voids with a density typically 20 percent of the mean and with diameters of 5000 km s-1 are present in every survey large enough to contain them. Many galaxies lie in thin sheet-like structures. The largest sheet detected so far is the "Great Wall" with a minimum extent of 60 h-1 Mpc x 170 h-1 Mpc, where h is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km s-1 Mpc-1. The frequent occurrence of these structures is one of several serious challenges to our current understanding of the origin and evolution of the large-scale distribution of matter in the universe.

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