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Image of the Day: Evidence of a Past Universe? Circular Patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background




Stephen Hawking has said: "We should look for evidence of a collision with another universe in our distant Past." Some experts believe that what we call the universe may only be one of many. Is there any conceivable way that we could ever detect and study other universes if they exist? Is it even falsifiable?

This was a key question Hawking was was asked in an interview with the BBC. "Our best bet for a theory of everything is M-theory --an extension of string theory," Hawking continued. "One prediction of M-theory is that there are many different universes, with different values for the physical constants. This might explain why the physical constants we measure seem fine-tuned to the values required for life to exist."

It is no surprise that we observe the physical constants to be finely-tuned. If they weren't, we wouldn't be here to observe them. One way of testing the theory that we may be one of many universes would be to look for features in the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) which would indicate the collision of another universe with ours in the distant past.

The circular patterns within the cosmic microwave background shown above suggest that space and time did not come into being at the Big Bang but that our universe in fact continually cycles through a series of "aeons," according to University of Oxford theoretical physicist Roger Penrose, who says that data collected by NASA's WMAP satellite supports his idea of "conformal cyclic cosmology".

Penrose made the sensational claim that he had glimpsed a signal originating from before the Big Bang working with Vahe Gurzadyn of the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia. Penrose came to this conclusion after analyzing maps from the Wilkinson Anisotropy Probe.

These maps reveal the cosmic microwave background, believed to have been created just 300,000 years after the Big Bang and offering clues to the conditions at that time. Penrose's finding runs directly counter to the widely accepted inflationary model of cosmology which states that the universe started from a point of infinite density known as the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, expanded extremely rapidly for a fraction of a second and has continued to expand much more slowly ever since, during which time stars, planets and ultimately humans have emerged.

That expansion is now believed to be accelerating due to a scientific X factor called dark energy and is expected to result in a cold, uniform, featureless universe. Penrose, however, reports Physics World, takes issue with the inflationary picture "and in particular believes it cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was believed to have been born – an extremely high degree of order that made complex matter possible. He does not believe that space and time came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang but that the Big Bang was in fact just one in a series of many, with each big bang marking the start of a new "aeon" in the history of the universe."

The core concept in Penrose's theory is the idea that in the very distant future the universe will in one sense become very similar to how it was at the Big Bang. Penrose says that "at these points the shape, or geometry, of the universe was and will be very smooth, in contrast to its current very jagged form. This continuity of shape, he maintains, will allow a transition from the end of the current aeon, when the universe will have expanded to become infinitely large, to the start of the next, when it once again becomes infinitesimally small and explodes outwards from the next big bang.

Crucially, he says, the entropy at this transition stage will be extremely low, because black holes, which destroy all information that they suck in, evaporate as the universe expands and in so doing remove entropy from the universe."

The foundation for Penrose's theory is found in the cosmic microwave background, the all-pervasive microwave radiation that was believed to have been created when the universe was just 300,000 years old and which tells us what conditions were like at that time. The evidence was obtained by Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia, who analysed seven years' worth of microwave data from WMAP, as well as data from the BOOMERanG balloon experiment in Antarctica.

Penrose and Gurzadyan say they have clearly identified concentric circles within the data – regions in the microwave sky in which the range of the radiation's temperature is markedly smaller than elsewhere. The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation is the remnant heat from the Big Bang. This radiation pervades the universe and, if we could see in microwaves, it would appear as a nearly uniform glow across the entire sky.

However, when we measure this radiation very carefully we can discern extremely faint variations in the brightness from point to point across the sky, called "anisotropy". These variations encode a great deal of information about the properties of our universe, such as its age and content. The "Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe" (WMAP) mission has measured these variations and found that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and it consists of 4.6% atoms, 23% dark matter, and 72% dark energy.

According to Penrose and Gurzadyan, as described in arXiv: 1011.3706, these circles allow us to "see through" the Big Bang into the aeon that would have existed beforehand. They are the visible signature left in our aeon by the spherical ripples of gravitational waves that were generated when black holes collided in the previous aeon.

The "Penrose circles" pose a huge challenge to inflationary theory because this theory says that the distribution of temperature variations across the sky should be Gaussian, or random, rather than having discernable structures within it.

Julian Barbour, a visiting professor of physics at the University of Oxford in an interview with Physics World, says that these circles would be "remarkable if real and sensational if they confirm Penrose's theory". They would "overthrow the standard inflationary picture", which, he adds, has become widely accepted as scientific fact by many cosmologists. But he believes that the result will be "very controversial" and that other researchers will look at the data very critically. He says there are many disputable aspects to the theory, including the abrupt shift of scale between aeons and the assumption, central to the theory, that all particles will become massless in the very distant future.

He points out, for example, that there is no evidence that electrons decay. Penrose and colleague Gurzadyn have answered the numerous critics who say that the circles do not contradict the standard model of cosmology in follow up paper, published on arXiv. In the short article, they agree that the presence of circles in the CMB does not contradict the standard model of cosmology.

However, the existence of “concentric families” of circles, they argue, cannot be explained as a purely random effect given the pure Gaussian nature of their original analysis. “It is, however a clear prediction of conformal cyclic cosmology,” reports Physics World.

Do these concentric circles shown below offer a glimpse of before the Big Bang? What do you think? 




The Daily Galaxy via Physics World and arXiv: 1011.3706 and news.bbc.co.uk

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This theory makes more sense to me, then the widely held theory of the big bang being some kind of 1 time event where everything began from nothing. Looking out into the universe we see most everything has a cyclical nature to it. To think that something so amazing could just be a random event? I cannot believe that. It makes so much more sense for it to have a cycle by which the visible universe continually reconstructs and deconstructs itself.

A super massive black hole is the only real observable phenomena that exhibits a similar type of force. We do not know what happens to matter and energy at the point of the singularity of a black hole, does it simply get infinitely smaller? Or is it funneled into another universe? Where the matter and or energy is expelled in an event similar to the big bang?

If we do live in a multiverse where we can observe the results of another universe's actions having reactions in ours. Then why don't we see white holes spewing matter and energy all over our visible universe from some other universe?
Or is that exactly what we are seeing with the big bang? Could all of our black holes 1 day collapse upon each other into a single event, creating a new big bang into another universe?

During the time of Christopher Columbus the church argued that the world was flat and that we were the center of the universe, both proved to be inaccurate. In today's myth we believe that we are the center of the universe, time, space and matter are finite. What would happen if time, space and matter are infinite? The sum of all universes are infinite and the sum of space is infinite. If the number of universes and the type of universes are infinite, would we, also, be part of a lager cluster of universes? Would we be a dwarf universe clustered around a lager universe(s)? They say that galaxies began 500 million years after the big bang, are we looking at early galaxies or another universe outside our own? How could galaxies form so early and so fast? How can we peer outside our universe to see what lies beyond?

Logically, two nothings can not produce something. That means that matter and energy (anything that exists) can be infinitely cut in half. And this further means that everying that we can see, from the universe as a whole down to the atom, is repeated infinitely on larger and smaller scales. We can even see a pattern with both large and small objects with large dense centers and smaller orbiting debris. Time is relative. We experience 13 billion years in our Universe but actually it lasted a second as an atom in another. Black holes could be gateways for traveling the 4th Dimension of a larger/smaller sizeline, and therefore, time traveling devices.

"Logically, two nothings can not produce something."

Actually, decades ago quantum mechanics proved that virtual particles DO pop into existence from nothing, and they do this constantly. It is one of the foundations of quantum physics and has been observed and measured in countless experiments.

Also, I believe you will find you cannot "slice" things smaller than the Planck length, which is about 10^-35 m. While mathematics can calculate smaller numbers, quantum physics says not so in the physical realm.

kristi276: "During the time of Christopher Columbus the church argued that the world was flat and that we were the center of the universe, both proved to be inaccurate."

Oh, God, no. You are wrong.

1) During the Middle Ages, we do knew the Earth was spherical.

2) The church just accepted the academic and scientific concensus of its time; in fact, its contribution to knowledge is greater than its conflicts with science: universities and schools, for example. Also, it already had an intermediate model where every planet orbited the sun and the sun urbited the earth, so they were not so "obscure". -- You know, we cannot expect to change what hundreds and hundreds of books said during thousands of years.

That article by Penrose came out two years ago and there have since been at least two printed that disagree with it - arxiv.org/abs/1012.1305 and arxiv.org/abs/1012.1268
and a two page response to those criticisms by Penrose. What I think is that when you get down to it, this doesn't really provide compelling evidence.

It makes more sense to assume that the circular patterns within the cosmic microwave background are evidence of a neighboring, smaller, younger universe interacting with our universe, with a resounding energetic effect much like a child's large, plastic ball hitting a plane of glass.

I put the definition on Penroeses theory http://bit.ly/KYS5gf


That is the dumbest conclusion that could have been reached from the given data. Nature doesn't adhere to what you, in your infinitely ignorant mind, think makes the most sense. Please learn to science.


I wouldn't expect some who writes "Please learn to science" to understand anything written in the article. Editor's note: Bravo, Matthew.

lol @ Matthew, and @Josell, wtf? "We do knew", and "the sun urbited the earth", I get what you're saying because atm I don't see how out current myth puts us at the center of the universe, but the matter aspect in my opinion is true, as far as what we think today. Personally, I say M-Theory makes most sense, I've heard arguments that ppl use M-Theory because creating something out of nothing is impossible and somehow a theory, and says were infinite, with no beginning or end means there's a beginning... or end...

The Universe is, or the local Universe we exist in is in, a jet; analogous to the polar jet of a black hole.

Dark energy is aether emitted into the Universal jet.

It's not the Big Bang; it's the Big Ongoing.

The circles look too perfect to me. Almost as if it was the sensor or lense itself that created them.

However I certainly believe there is some repeating cycle, possibly of expansion and contraction, and that we may be both infinitely large and small.

@mpc755: I suspect the image is merely a representation of what the new data may show. Not the actual image. I think the variations are too small to be represented in this way.

Additionally, I like the idea of using the word "science" as a verb.

"You better step back or I'm gunna science you!"

.."it consists of 4.6% atoms, 23% dark matter, and 72% dark energy." Science that!

@kirk: The concentric circles are caused by the Universe spinning about a preferred axis. My guess is a helix we are looking down the axis of is more accurate than concentric circles.

'Was the universe born spinning?'

"The universe was born spinning and continues to do so around a preferred axis"

The Universe spins around a preferred axis because the Universe is, or the local Universe we exist in is in, a jet; analogous to the polar jet of a black hole.

There is also directionality to galaxy clusters which can not be explained by a 'big bang' and is explained by a Universal jet.

'Mysterious Cosmic 'Dark Flow' Tracked Deeper into Universe'

'The clusters appear to be moving along a line extending from our solar system toward Centaurus/Hydra, but the direction of this motion is less certain. Evidence indicates that the clusters are headed outward along this path, away from Earth, but the team cannot yet rule out the opposite flow. "We detect motion along this axis, but right now our data cannot state as strongly as we'd like whether the clusters are coming or going," Kashlinsky said.'

The following is an image analogous of the Universal jet. Instead of viewing the image as time since the 'big bang' view the image as an ongoing process analogous to the polar jet of a black hole.


Dark energy is aether emitted into the Universal jet.

It's not the Big Bang; it's the Big Ongoing.

Those concentric circles are way too artificial and perfect. They were created by dulling the saturation of the surrounding colors to make them stand out. By re-normalizing the colors, I could pick out other shapes and circles from the background. It's a weird thing for them to do.

mpc755 - "Dark energy is aether emitted into the Universal jet."
Dense Aether theory has been discounted by physicists. Here is a recent article by Prof Sean Carroll of Calech:

MandoZink: I read the article. There are many inaccuracies in it. For example:

"In 1905 Einstein pointed out how to preserve the symmetries of Maxwell’s equations without referring to aether at all, in the special theory of relativity, and the idea was relegated to the trash bin of scientific history."

Einstein stated, "According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable".

Einstein himself insists there is an aether.

Here is something else which is completely inaccurate:

"The Michelson-Morley experiment, in particular, implied that the speed of light did not change as the Earth moved through space, in apparent contradiction with the aether idea."

The Michelson-Morley experiment looked for a stationary aether the Earth moved through. The aether is not stationary. The aether is displaced by matter.

'Ether and the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein'

"the state of the [ether] is at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the ether in neighbouring places, ... disregarding the causes which condition its state."

The state of the aether at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the aether in neighboring places is the state of displacement of the aether.

above - 'when the universe will have expanded to become infinitely large, to the start of the next, when it once again becomes infinitesimally small and explodes outwards from the next big bang'

Here we see science contradicting itself. If the universe is cyclic, where is the bang - they cover the backsides by trying to include an old outdated theory with a new ' cyclic' theory - so if you were all wrong about the 'Big bang model' - then it is only fair you should no longer be refered to as credible people. fact. I am sick of this self important community of scientist - aint got a brain cell tween em - throwing sweeping nonsense around the science books of the world - only to be thrown out as rubbish. i think human should relax empahsis of merit to these people - they have limited human brains and so should be treated as the rest of us. convention is not the way forward - the big bang model was convention.

By the way, my non-conventional theory points to a seeded crystal universe - evergrowing but i think at a very slow rate. Now this does not mean i am correct. just thought i would tell you my model.

The crystal is not known to our periodic table but does produce hydrogen as a result of crystal conversion due to universal tectonics. Cracks develop within the crystal and this is where galaxies form - out of the hydrogen weather caused by cracking turbulances and magnetic animation. the energy released upon cracking are enormous - a billion-fold earthquake - a crystal quake

Gareth: You are correct. The standard cosmological model has been refuted. Mainstream physics just can't bring itself to understand it has failed.

There is a spin about a preferred axis the big bang can not account for. Galaxy clusters are moving directionally in a way the big bang can not account for.

All of the evidence is evidence the Universe is, or our local Universe is in, a larger version of black hole polar jet.

The Universe spinning about a preferred axis is explained by the Universe being a larger version of a black hole polar jet. The directionality of galaxy clusters moving through the Universe is evidence the Universe is a larger version of a black hole polar jet.

Dark energy is aether emitted into the Universal jet which pushes the matter away from each other. Analogous to objects exiting the mouth of a river.

It's not the big bang, it's the big ongoing.

mpc755 - I suddenly realize who you are. You stand with Zephyr, Callippo, Terriva, Origin and a few others I've run into.

MandoZink: I understand aether has mass, aether physically occupies three dimensional space, aether is physically displaced by matter.

Displaced aether pushing back and exerting inward pressure toward matter is gravity.

A moving particle has an associated aether displacement wave. In a double slit experiment the particle travels a well defined path which takes it through one slit while the associated aether wave passes through both.

I wonder if its possible that the circles are kind of like "reflections" from the suns heliosphere or some thing like this.

Since we are receiving the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation from beyond the heliosphere, they would have to be "refractions" as opposed to reflections. The heliopause would not refract the CMB radiation at 2.7°K anyhow.

Also any return from the heliosphere/heliopause would not be circular. It was recently determined that the shape of the heliosphere is squashed and asymmetrical - thus any effect would look very warped:

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