The Boötes void (or The Great Nothing) is an enormous, approximately spherical region of space, containing very few galaxies. It is located in the vicinity of the constellation Boötes, hence its name. Its center is located at approximately right ascension 14h 50m and declination 46°.
At nearly 330 million light-years in diameter (approximately 0.27% of the diameter of the observable Universe), or nearly 236,000 Mpc3 in volume, the Boötes void is one of the largest-known voids in the Universe, and is referred to as a supervoid. Its discovery was reported by Robert Kirshner et al. (1981), as part of a survey of galactic redshifts. The center of the Boötes void is approximately 700 million light-years from Earth.
Other astronomers soon discovered that the void contained a few galaxies. In 1987, J. Moody, Robert P. Kirshner, G. MacAlpine, and S. Gregory published their findings of eight galaxies in the void. M. Strauss and John Huchra announced the discovery of a further three galaxies in 1988, and Greg Aldering, G. Bothun, Robert P. Kirshner, and Ron Marzke announced the discovery of fifteen galaxies in 1989. By 1997, the Boötes void was known to contain 60 galaxies. However, the light from the edge of the void is over 100 million years old. Thus, there may be galaxies at the edge that will one day vanish from our telescopes.
If we were in the center of the void, we would see no stars in the sky with the naked eye. According to astronomer Greg Aldering, the scale of the void is such that "If the Milky Way had been in the center of the Boötes void, we wouldn't have known there were other galaxies until the 1960s."
While there is speculation about there being a Type III civilization there, as per the Kardashev Scale, or the void being the other end of a black hole, there are no major apparent inconsistencies between the existence of the Boötes void and the Lambda-CDM model of cosmological evolution. It has been theorized that the Boötes void was formed from the merger of smaller voids, much like the way in which soap bubbles coalesce to form larger bubbles. This would account for the small number of galaxies that populate a roughly tube-shaped region running through the middle of the void.
Confusion with Barnard 68
Boötes void has been often associated with images of Barnard 68, a dark nebula that does not allow light to pass through; however, the images of Barnard 68 are much darker than those we observe of Boötes void, as the nebula is much closer and there are fewer stars in front of it, as well as being a physical mass that blocks light passing through.
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