The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall is the biggest entity in the universe. The object is also named the Great GRB wall. It’s a galactic superstructure that is held together with gravity. It’s estimated to be about 10 billion light-years away, so it’s only been existence about 4 billion years after the Big Bang. For comparison, 10 billion light-years away are 10% of the diameter of the known universe.
The Discovery of the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall
In 2013, the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall was discovered by a team of American and Hungarian scientists, led by I. Horvath, Zs. Bagoly, and J. Hakkila. The team was searching for Gamma-Ray bursts. The scientific community has been mapping Gamma-ray Bursts since 1997. Gamma-Ray Bursts are very rare, occurring only once every couple million years.
A Perplexing Discovery
The discovery has caused some confusion in the scientific community. The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall contradicts Albert Einstein’s theory, called the cosmological principle that outlined the limit to the universe being 1.2 billion light-years. The Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall is eight times the limit that Albert Einstein proposed for the universe. As a result, the discovery has been dubbed ‘so big it shouldn’t exist.’
In fact, to this day, it’s discovery is sometimes debated, but the discovery team stands behind their claims. While critics wonder, since the structure is so far away if the team made a mistake.
As the structure is so distant, it’s particularly difficult to map it to the full extent or know much about it. However, scientists believe that this structure can give us more details on the universe as a whole.
More Theories Disproven
The structure has caused more than one disruption in the scientific community. As the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall is 10 billion light-years away, it means we see the structure 10 billion years ago. However, the universe is thought to be only 13.8 billion years old. The discovery of this structure seems to imply that the universe is older than we thought. It would take more than the 13.8 billion years for something as large as the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall to form.
One of the scientists who discovered the structure, Istvan Horvath, says he is unsure how the structure could have possibly formed in that amounts of time. This remains a mystery that still needs to be solved.
The Meaning Behind the Name
The team of astronomers that discovered the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall was looking for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRB) which is why the wall is often called the Great GRB Wall.
Originally, the team of scientists never bothered naming the cluster as they were so focused on proving its existence. The term ‘Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall’ was first used by a Filipino teenager on Wikipedia after reading about the discovery in 2013. The name was used to imply it borders the Hercules and Corona Borealis borders.
However, this isn’t quite right as it’s much larger than both of those constellations. The structure also covers from the Bootes constellation to as far as the Gemini constellation. Additionally, the celestial object is more round in shape, as a cluster of galaxies, rather than the long shape of a galaxy wall as the name implies. Still, the name stuck and was picked up later by media outlets.
The Great GRB Wall has been proposed as a new name in later papers and adopted by many in the scientific community.