Biggest Structure in the Known Universe Discovered: The BOSS Great Wall



That age-old question, “who’s the boss?” has just been answered: Astrophysicists have discovered the largest structure found in the known universe. And they’ve named it BOSS (from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey) Great Wall.

Light from one end of the BOSS takes a billion years to reach the other end (a more epic way of saying “BOSS is a billion light years wide”). It consists of 800 galaxies and contains 10,000 times as much mass as our Milky Way.

There is a hierarchy of scale in the universe. Galaxies cluster with other galaxies, and if enough of them gather in a cluster, then they are known collectively as a “supercluster.” If a supercluster is large enough, it becomes a “Great Wall.” If a Great Wall is large enough, it is known as “Yo Momma” (Could’ve gone with “Trump’s Hands” or “Trump’s Wall,” but would’ve attracted too much criticism from either side of that quagmire).

Structures like BOSS are known as Great Walls; held together by gravity, adrift in vast spans of empty space.

Computer simulation of the distribution of light sources in the universe

We found two walls of galaxies … that are larger in volume and diameter than any previously known superclusters. Together they form the system of the BOSS Great Wall, which is more extended than any other known structure,the publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics states.

“It was so much bigger than anything else in this volume,” Heidi Lietzen, one of the lead authors on the study, said to the New Scientist.

On the grandest scales, the universe resembles a cosmic web of matter surrounding empty voids – and these walls are the thickest threads,” said Joshua Sokol from the New Scientist.

However, some disagree with whether the BOSS should even be considered a single structure, when it in fact consists of two Great Walls.

I don’t entirely understand why they are connecting all of these features together to call them a single structure,” Allison Coil of the University of California in San Diego told New Scientist. “There are clearly kinks and bends in this structure that don’t exist, for example, in the Sloan Great Wall.”

Regardless of what the critics think, BOSS will soon seem to be a silly title; as we see more of the universe (which is the point of the survey), chances are we’ll discover greater Great Walls.

“It is not surprising that if we look at a bigger patch of the universe we find something bigger,” Brent Tully, from  the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, said. “But not so much bigger that it disrupts the generally held view of structure formation…Look in a new place and you’ll find something new,” he added.

Already, the astrophysicists have turned their gaze towards their next BOSS. “There could very well be another equally big system of superclusters somewhere in the Southern sky, for example,” Lietzen said.
Sources: Washington Post, RT, PBS

This article (Biggest Structure in the Known Universe Discovered: The BOSS Great Wall) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author(CoNN) and


Get Your Anonymous T-Shirt / Sweatshirt / Hoodie / Tanktop, Smartphone or Tablet Cover or Mug In Our Spreadshirt Shop! Click Here



  1. I don’t know who came up with that ” Yo Momma” Joke but you win the internet today and it’s only 9am where I live. Bravo!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here