Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: A Hole in the Universe

Keeping in the cosmic vein that kicked off Sunday Spotlight, today we'd like to draw your attention to the fact that astronomers have just recently discovered that the universe has an enormous void in it measuring nearly a billion light-years across—which is massive even by universal standards—and conventional astrophysicists have no ready explanation as to why or what this may mean.
Astronomers analyzing data from a sky survey using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) found a slight "cold spot" in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation that—until this discovery—was thought to infuse the universe, a trace of the state of the universe in its infancy shortly after the Big Bang. Upon analysis, this anomaly was revealed to be almost entirely void of any matter whatsoever, and is of a scale that massively dwarfs other such regions previously detected.

It very well could be that astronomers have located Flatland, and I remember when first being taught about dimensions the vivid explanation that if one put one's 3-D finger through a two-dimensional universe represented by a sheet of paper, it would appear as a large void to its inhabitants. Hmmm.

"What we've found is not normal," said astronomer Liliya R. Williams of the University of Minnesota with equally massive understatement, "based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the Universe."

Evidence for the Multiverse

Concurrently, another group of researchers led by Hiranya Peiris, a cosmologist at University College London, has run an automated scan of CMB satellite-collected data and announced the discovery of several other vast, lozenge-shaped anomolies, and propose that they may be the first proof of the multiverse theory, and that the newly discovered fields may be areas where other universes are impinging on our own. (Below, their skymap with the impingements in various colors at bottom.)

Interesting times we live in. Perhaps many of them...

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