You've probably heard the cliché that humans are just tiny specks in the universe. It might literally be true. A recent study gives more evidence to a theory that we're actually tiny specks inside of a gigantic void of nothingness — and it's the biggest known void of nothingness in the entire universe.
Here's the theory: Imagine our entire universe as a block of Swiss cheese. The cheese itself is made of several "galactic filaments," which are honeycomb-like network of multiple galaxies and stars. The holes in the block of cheese are cosmic voids, which literally are giant bubbles of near-nothingness — they might have a few galaxies in them, but they're not dense.
Humans are thought to live in a bubble that's about seven times bigger than the average cosmic void, with an estimated length of 1 billion light years. To put that into perspective, we exist — along with planet Earth and the sun — within the Milky Way Galaxy, which looks a bit like a stellar frisbee. But that galaxy and several others are all inside of a cosmic void, which scientists have named the "KBC void."
So, if you think the suburbs are remote, just remember that you, every human megacity, the entire earth and the galaxy it belongs to are all probably sitting in "celestial boondocks," as scientists put it.
This theory of our universe first surfaced in 2013, when scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison calculated that our galaxy exists in a bubble of galaxies that's less dense with other parts of the universe (hence the word "cosmic void"). The same university conducted this latest batch of research backing the theory, and its findings may help the scientific community measure the how fast our universe is currently expanding. In the past, numbers measuring this rate of expansion — called the "Hubble Constant" — have been inconsistent.
At the very least, we're again reminded of how puny we really are.