Our Lopsided Universe is Darker, Lighter, Slower, Older & More Mysterious than We Thought
Follow the Daily Galaxy
Add Daily Galaxy to igoogle page AddThis Feed Button Join The Daily Galaxy Group on Facebook Follow The Daily Galaxy Group on twitter
 

« "An Inter-Planetary Shuttle?" --Mars' Meteorites Cloak a Chemical Signature Almost as Old as the Solar System | Main | Image of the Day: Saturn's "Death Star Moon" --Hosts One of the Largest Impact Craters in the Solar System »

July 26, 2013

Our Lopsided Universe is Darker, Lighter, Slower, Older & More Mysterious than We Thought

 

 

Planck_anomalies_Bianchi_on_CMB_orig

 

Our Lopsided universe is darker, lighter, slower, and older than we thought. Europe's Planck Satellite new skymap shows that one half of the microwave background is brighter than the other, and the universe has a large cold spot. Anomalies suggest that Universe may be different on scales larger than those we can directly observe. This spring, Europe's Planck satellite team comleted compiling the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background --the relic radiation from the Big Bang.

The new map refines our understanding of the Universe's composition and evolution, and unveils new features that could challenge the foundations of our current understanding of its evolution. nomalies suggest that Universe may be different on scales larger than those we can directly observe. Most accurate values yet for the ingredients of the Universe, with normal matter contributing just 4.9% of the mass/energy density of the Universe and dark matter making up 26.8% - nearly a fifth more than the previous estimate.

 

Planck-history-of-universe

 

The Plank data reveled two stunning new mysteries. The first is that we live in a lopsided universe. Einstein created the first physical model of the universe in 1917, know as the “cosmological principle,” whhich says that in the macro the universe looks the same in all locations, and in all directions because the physical laws governing its formation and expansion operate the same way everywhere. But what the Planck Spacecraft saw was very different: The cosmic microwave background is stronger in one half of the sky than in the other. There is also a large “cold” spot where the effective temperature of the microwaves is below average.

The image is based on the initial 15.5 months of data from Planck and is the mission's first all-sky picture of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when it was just 380,000 years old. This cosmic microwave background (CMB) shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities at very early times, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.

The spacecraft has compiled a trillion observations of a billion points on the sky, looking at each pixel in this image an average of 1,000 times. The Planck team had to rely on a series of computer simulations done on a Cray XE6 supercomputer known as the Hopper, located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Those simulations made it possible to mimic and subtract the unwanted signals from foreground objects and from within the detectors. According to NASA, the current cosmic snapshot required 10 million processor-hours of time on the Hopper.

Overall, the information extracted from Planck's new map provides an excellent confirmation of the standard model of cosmology at an unprecedented accuracy, setting a new benchmark for our knowledge of the contents of the Universe.

"The CMB temperature fluctuations detected by Planck confirm once more that the relatively simple picture provided by the standard model is an amazingly good description of the Universe," explains George Efstathiou of the University of Cambridge, UK.

The properties of the hot and cold regions of the map provide information about the composition and evolution of the Universe. Normal matter that makes up stars and galaxies contributes just 4.9% of the mass/energy density of the Universe. Dark matter, which has thus far only been detected indirectly by its gravitational influence, makes up 26.8%, nearly a fifth more than the previous estimate. Conversely, dark energy, a mysterious force thought to be responsible for accelerating the expansion of the Universe, accounts for slightly less than previously thought, at around 69%.

The Planck data also set a new value for the rate at which the Universe is expanding today, known as the Hubble constant. At 67.3 km/s/Mpc, this is significantly different from the value measured from relatively nearby galaxies. This somewhat slower expansion implies that the Universe is also a little older than previously thought, at 13.8 billion years.

The analysis also gives strong support for theories of "inflation", a very brief but crucial early phase during the first tiny fraction of a second of the Universe's existence. As well as explaining many properties of the Universe as a whole, this initial expansion caused the ripples in the CMB that we see today.

Although this primordial epoch can't be observed directly, the theory predicts a set of very subtle imprints on the CMB map. Previous experiments have not been able to confidently detect these subtle imprints, but the high resolution of Planck's map confirms that the tiny variations in the density of the early Universe match those predicted by inflation.

"The sizes of these tiny ripples hold the key to what happened in that first trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Planck has given us striking new evidence that indicates they were created during this incredibly fast expansion, just after the Big Bang", explained Joanna Dunkley of the University of Oxford.

But because the precision of Planck's map is so high, it also reveals some peculiar unexplained features that may well require new physics to be understood. Amongst the most surprising findings are that the fluctuations in the CMB over large scales do not match those predicted by the standard model. This anomaly adds to those observed by previous experiments, and confirmed by Planck, including an asymmetry in the average temperatures on opposite hemispheres of the sky, and a cold spot that extends over a patch of sky that is much larger than expected.

One way to explain the anomalies is to propose that the Universe is in fact not the same in all directions on a larger scale than we can observe. In this scenario, the light rays from the CMB may have taken a more complicated route through the Universe than previously understood, resulting in some of the unusual patterns observed today.

"Our ultimate goal would be to construct a new model that predicts the anomalies and links them together. But these are early days; so far, we don't know whether this is possible and what type of new physics might be needed. And that's exciting," says Professor Efstathiou


The Daily Galaxy via ESA and http://www.kicc.cam.ac.uk/news/index.php?newsitem=UK_Space_Agency_press_release.php&display=True and http://www.kicc.cam.ac.uk/news/index.php?newsitem=UK_Space_Agency_press_release.php&display=True

Comments

First is this comment: "Overall, the information extracted from Planck's new map provides an excellent confirmation of the standard model of cosmology at an unprecedented accuracy, setting a new benchmark for our knowledge of the contents of the Universe."

Then there is this comment a bit further down: "But because the precision of Planck's map is so high, it also reveals some peculiar unexplained features that may well require new physics to be understood. Amongst the most surprising findings are that the fluctuations in the CMB over large scales do not match those predicted by the standard model."

They're so eager to have the Big Bang confirmed that they accept the anomalies as part of the basic principle, but "needs a new physics" to explain the lumpiness of the universe. This "lumpiness" (the hot and cold spots of immense dimensions) suggest a hugely older universe, perhaps by billions of years. They do not need a new physics to explain this. What they're seeing are relics of an ancient universe as it's shaped itself over hundreds of billions of years.

"What they're seeing are relics of an ancient universe as it's shaped itself over hundreds of billions of years.

Hundreds of Billions? Are they saying the Universe is more than 10 times as old as previously thought?

As a simple-minded, non-scientific "lay-person"; there's something I don't get:

If the "...analysis also gives strong support for theories of "inflation", ...during the first tiny fraction of a second of the Universe's existence..." isn't that evidence something (matter, energy, waves, strings, membranes, sub-atomic particles, something!) in our universe was traveling substantially faster than the speed of light, even for a brief period of time?

If that is accurate, doesn't it prove the speed of light is not the inviolable constant used as a cornerstone of modern physics, esp. Relativity Theory?

Chris: expansion of the space through which light travels is exempt from the speed light travels through said space. It can expand "faster" because it's not actually "moving" as it expands. Think of a balloon as it inflates, and what it does to a picture drawn on its surface.

As for the rest: fascinating. The article writer makes it sound like people are clinging desperately to the Big Bang, but the scientists are not. Science media =/= science community. This result is a head-scratcher, for sure. If the large-scale universe does have a non-uniform structure, then what is that structure? Will we ever be able to extrapolate what it looks like? Could it potentially point to a "center" of the universe? How does this jive with the 'great attractor' theory? Many questions!

I don't really know any more: astrophysicists are running all too ready to confirm the standard model via observation of the space, but to do that, they are assuming as a matter of fact pure mathematical variables like "dark Matter and dark energy" in the standard model, something they can't see, or prove and that can only be derived from the assumption that, because their model the right one, something has to be "There" to validate real world observations diverging form their theoretical models deductions...
I also was taught that, when you get infinite as a result of a physical problem, that is probably THE problem, and yet, everybody assumes that, at the big bang, singularity was "a normal state of the universe" ad we had to "think out" the Whole inflation stuff to abide it with the way the universe really is today. Theories are good as far as they are considered for what they are, but when theories start being reviewed as "realities", we shift uncomfortably close to the good old "ipse dixit" of old times.
May be I'm wrong but I don't see much difference between this and the universal gravitational constant created by Einstein (and then disproved by the physicist himself) to validate it's own "Stationary Universe" theory idea.
I know that rotation of stars in spiral galaxies push us to think of more mass to conform this with Newtonian gravitation, but are we so sure that his is the ONLY way, and not a plain road to delude ourselves we have "nailed" the big, true picture and not the wrong one?

couldnt the universe be spinning as well and couldn't it (at some time)have been expanding in pulses rather than at a constant rate? Could those account for the anomolies...sry i am not scientist or anything...just interested.


Post a comment

« "An Inter-Planetary Shuttle?" --Mars' Meteorites Cloak a Chemical Signature Almost as Old as the Solar System | Main | Image of the Day: Saturn's "Death Star Moon" --Hosts One of the Largest Impact Craters in the Solar System »




1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8





9


11


12


13


14


15

Our Partners

technology partners

A


19


B

About Us/Privacy Policy

For more information on The Daily Galaxy and to contact us please visit this page.



E