The crimson area (on the left) depicts the casing defined by the Baryon Acoustic Oscillation, where each galaxy is represented by minute glowing dots. The azure strands illustrate the expansive Cosmic Web, emphasizing previously identified structures such as Laniākea. Acknowledgment: Frédéric Durillon of Animea Studio; Daniel Pomarède from IRFU, CEA University Paris-Saclay.

Astronomers find a fossil-like structure from the birth of the universe

"Identifying this massive structure was remarkable..."


In a startling breakthrough, a team led by the University of Hawaiʻi has unveiled an enormous cosmic bubble, named Hoʻoleilana. Positioned a staggering 820 million light years from our planet, this bubble might just be a relic from the universe’s very inception.

Derived from the ancient Hawaiian creation chant, Kumulipo, the name Hoʻoleilana implies the genesis of structures. And indeed, the immense bubble appears entangled amidst a galaxy web. As Brent Tully, an esteemed astronomer from the UH Institute for Astronomy, elucidates, “We didn’t expect to find such a titanic structure. Its vastness even exceeded the scope of our sky study.”

Echoes from the Big Bang

Highlighted in The Astrophysical Journal, the discovery reaffirms predictions by the Big Bang theory. It postulates that three-dimensional ripples in the early universe’s material, termed as Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO), led to these colossal formations. “Identifying this massive structure was remarkable,” asserts Tully. “The bubble’s vast span raises intriguing questions about our universe’s expansion rate.”


The discovery was pieced together using data from the Cosmicflows-4 project – the most expansive collection of galaxy distances so far. Interestingly, this might be the inaugural identification of a single structure associated with BAO. Such a find could significantly refine our comprehension of galaxy evolution dynamics.

Unraveling the Universe’s Rhythms

According to the widely accepted Big Bang theory, the universe once mirrored the sun’s fiery innards. As this plasma’s denser patches began collapsing under gravity, radiation waves pushed out, causing the plasma to undulate, creating vast cosmic ripples. The resultant patterns and galactic distribution could hold secrets to these ancient cosmic tales.

French researcher Daniel Pomarede likened his role to that of a “cosmic cartographer”, meticulously mapping Hoʻoleilana in three dimensions. This effort provided insights into the behemoth’s constitution and its interplay with adjacent cosmic entities. It’s worth noting that the same team unveiled the Laniākea Supercluster, encompassing our very own Milky Way, back in 2014. But in terms of size, it pales before the grandeur of Hoʻoleilana.


Previous Mentions and Implications

Interestingly, a 2016 study had hinted at Hoʻoleilana’s existence, albeit without understanding its full extent or associating it with a BAO. Harnessing the Cosmicflows-4 dataset, the current team showcased a holistic galactic sphere. This expansive bubble, enveloping many famed cosmic landmarks, hints at potential anomalies within the standard cosmological model.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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