Astronomers have found an enormous void in space that measures nearly a billion light-years across.
It is empty of both normal matter - such as galaxies and stars - and the mysterious "dark matter" that cannot be seen directly with telescopes.
The "hole" is located in the direction of the Eridanus constellation and has been identified in data from a survey of the sky made at radio wavelengths.
The discovery will be reported in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal.
Previous sky surveys that have traced the large-scale structure of the nearby Universe have long shown, for example, how the clustering of galaxies is strung into vast filaments and sheets that are separated by great gaps.
But the void discovered by a University of Minnesota team is about 1,000 times the volume of what would be expected in typical cosmic gaps.
"It's hard even for astronomers to picture how big these things are," conceded Minnesota's Professor Lawrence Rudnick.
"If you were to travel at the speed of light, it would take you several years to get to the nearest stars in our own Milky Way galaxy; but if you were to go to this hole and enter one side, you'd have to travel for a billion years before you would get to the other side," he told BBC News.
The void is roughly 6-10 billion light-years away and takes a sizeable chunk out of the visible Universe in its direction.
From BBC NEWS - Science/Nature section.
Yeap... I'm procrastinating... again... :)
alright, alright...back to my books...