Introduction to The Universe: Biggest Things in Space (01:15)
From the Lymann Alpha blob, to radio lobes and super-galaxy clusters, to the largest black hole in space, this program introduces viewers to the most enormous objects in the cosmos.
Cosmic Web: Largest Thing (02:54)
Astronomers aim their telescopes to the biggest things in the universe. The Cosmic Web accounts for ninety per cent of the universe's mass. At the center are super clusters composing thousands of galaxies.
Scale of Cosmic Web (00:60)
Scientists liken its size to the Milky Way Galaxy being the size of a poppy seed and the volume of the observable universe being the Rose Bowl Stadium. The origin of the Cosmic Web is the Big Bang with its structures blown up their large size.
Mapping the Cosmic Web (01:59)
Using gravitational lensing, scientists attempt to map out the Cosmic Web Some dispute it is the largest object. Super Clusters are the largest gravitationally bound objects. The Web contains thousands of Super Clusters.
Shapley Super Cluster (02:45)
The Shapley Super Cluster spans across several constellations and is four thousand times larger than our Milky Way. Scientists believe it is bigger than it appears. Gravity holds the super clusters together.
Milky Way's Address (01:51)
The Milky Way is part of a small cluster called the Local Group which is part of a larger grouping called the Virgo Cluster. Voids are bare spots in the universe. Bootes is the largest Void whose size is equal to 2500 Milky Way galaxies.
Searching for Voids (01:21)
The Bootes Void is almost completely devoid of galaxies. Using measures of the cosmic microwave background radiation, scientists search for larger voids. With time the matter in voids is absorbed into the surrounding web objects.
Cosmic Bubbles (03:41)
In the Lymann Alpha Blobs, scientists observe the first phases of galaxy formation and collapse. Expanding because of heat, the gas puffs up like a bubble. The Keck Observatory uses special filters to observe the largest known Lymann Alpha blob.
Determining the Size of Galaxies (03:28)
Galaxies are gravitationally bound systems containing stars, gas, dust and dark matter. 100 billion are known to exist. Determining where they end is key to establishing their size. C-D galaxies are the largest and form by galaxy cannibalism.
Radio Lobes (03:15)
These immense structures are hurling jets of charged particles stretching out from galaxies. Radio lobes swirl around super massive Black Hole located near quasars and last for a few million years. The largest is found in galaxy 3C236.
Largest Black Hole (03:18)
Black Holes are regions in space so immense that nothing can escape them, even light. Super Massive Black Holes are found in the centers of galaxies. The quasar HS1946+7658 contains the largest known, larger than our entire solar system.
Star Sizes (02:33)
Stars come in a variety of sizes.The most powerful stars are a million times more powerful than the Sun. Red hypergiants have a surface area the size of earth's orbit or larger.
VY Canis Majoris (02:44)
VY Canis Majoris is the largest known red supergiant. Its radius extends farther than Saturn's orbit. Interferometers are new instruments used to measure a star's size. Red supergiants are actually dying stars and are relatively short lived.
Most Massive Stars (02:26)
Located in the Milky Way galaxy, the most massive known star is the binary star system named A1. Massive stars live short lives and die spectacularly with a large explosion. Massive stars form the elements essential to life.
TRES-4: Largest Planet (03:50)
Planets come in two size groups: large gas planets and small rocky planets. In the solar system, Jupiter is the largest. In the universe, the largest known planet is TRES-4. It has a large radius with a small density. Large gas planets do not sustain life.
Ceres is the largest known asteroid. It is located in the asteroid belt of our solar system. About six hundred miles in diameter it contains one quarter the mass in the asteroid belt. Because of its size and shape, it is also known as a dwarf planet.
In Our Solar System (02:14)
Jupiter has the biggest moon named Gannymede. Mars contains the largest volcano, Olympus Mons. At seventeen miles high, it dwarfs any on earth. The largest object in our solar system is the Oort Cloud. Comets originate from the Oort Cloud.
Conclusion and Credits to The Universe: Biggest Things in Space (00:55)
Although astronomers have found many large structures in the universe, the quest continues. They hope that with new technology, more will be discovered.
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