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Structures larger than galaxies are spinning in the universe3 min read

July 13, 2021 3 min read


Structures larger than galaxies are spinning in the universe3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is safe to say that the space likes to dance! With Venus moving, blackholes shimmy-ing, and now these large structures spinning!

Image: Giphy

Everything in the Universe seems to spin, right from the planets to the stars, but the Universe itself has no overall spin to its humming. Not just the Universe but even its largest bodies have shown no sign of spinning. But that was before the study released by Noam Libeskind, a cosmologist at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam in Germany.

This study found that the large tendrils in the universe made up of galaxies like spinning! These structures are hundreds of millions of light years long, making them the largest spinning structures in the Universe.

Image: Space

Scientists were already aware that clusters of galaxies spun around their axis but they also believed that the spinning game stopped there. This new study has added new participants to the space’s dance stage!

What are these large spinning structures?

These structures are large filaments or cosmic tendrils that are made up of galaxies. They are so large that entire galaxies are like specs of dust to them. These filaments are much bigger than clusters.

A filament is a thread-like, flexible and, elongated structure.

These filaments were formed many years ago! Have you heard about the Big Bang? That’s when the Earth as we knew it came into being. That was 13.8 billion years ago. After the Big Bang, much of the gas that makes the matter of the cosmos collapsed into cosmic sheets. These sheets broke apart to make these filaments.

How was this spinning discovered?

Scientists studied more than 17,000 of these giant filaments using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. They studied the speed at which each galaxy within each tendril moved. The way the galaxies were rotating led the scientists to conclude that they were rotating around the central axis of each filament.

The fastest whirl by galaxies was recorded as 3,60,000 kph.

Image: Giphy

While the study does not confirm that every filament in the universe spins, it shows that it is possible for filaments of that size to do that!

Why do they spin?

Owliver’s Obscure Observations:
Structures in space spin in keeping with angular movement. As long as structures expand, their spinning will diminish overtime. But as structures collapse or shrink, their spinning will continue. The latter is called the law of conservation of angular movement.

Think of figure skaters. To continue spinning, they bring in their arms and legs, thereby shrinking themselves. To stop the spinning, the extend their arms and legs.

Image: Giphy

The discovery of the spinning filaments are as crucial as the discovery of the reason why they spin. One theory goes back to science’s favourite friend—gravity.

Image: Giphy

The structures are large and they may pull gas, dust and other surrounding material within them through their gravitational pull. As these collapse, the resultant forces could make the filaments spin.

Researchers are now working on creating computer simulations to determine the reason for the spinning.

With excerpts from Space, Sci-news, and Forbes