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"Other Universes are Pulling on Our Universe" -- New Planck Data Triggers Controversy (Today's Most Popular)

 

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Is our universe merely one of billions? Evidence of the existence of 'multiverse' revealed for the first time by a cosmic map of background radiation data gathered by Planck telescope. The first 'hard evidence' that other universes exist has been claimed to have been found by cosmologists studying new Planck data released this past June. They have concluded that it shows anomalies that can only have been caused by the gravitational pull of other universes.

"Such ideas may sound wacky now, just like the Big Bang theory did three generations ago," says George Efstathiou, professor of astrophysics at Cambridge University."But then we got evidence and now it has changed the whole way we think about the universe."

Scientists had predicted that it should be evenly distributed, but the map shows a stronger concentration in the south half of the sky and a 'cold spot' that cannot be explained by current understanding of physics. Laura Mersini-Houghton, theoretical physicist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Richard Holman, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, predicted that anomalies in radiation existed and were caused by the pull from other universes in 2005. Mersini-Houghton will be in Britain soon promoting this theory and, we expect, the hard evidence at the Hay Festival on May 31 and at Oxford on June 11.

Dr Mersini-Houghton believes her hypothesis has been proven from the Planck data that data has been used to create a map of light from when the universe was just 380,000 years old. "These anomalies were caused by other universes pulling on our universe as it formed during the Big Bang," she says. "They are the first hard evidence for the existence of other universes that we have seen."

Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit writes in his blog, Not Even Wrong, that in recent years there have been many claims made for “evidence” of a multiverse, supposedly found in the CMB data. "Such claims often came with the remark that the Planck CMB data would convincingly decide the matter. When the Planck data was released two months ago, I looked through the press coverage and through the Planck papers for any sign of news about what the new data said about these multiverse evidence claims. There was very little there; possibly the Planck scientists found these claims to be so outlandish that it wasn’t worth the time to look into what the new data had to say about them.

"One exception," Woit adds, "was this paper, where Planck looked for evidence of 'dark flow'. They found nothing, and a New Scientist article summarized the situation: 'The Planck team’s paper appears to rule out the claims of Kashlinsky and collaborators,' says David Spergel of Princeton University, who was not involved in the work. If there is no dark flow, there is no need for exotic explanations for it, such as other universes, says Planck team member Elena Pierpaoli at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “You don’t have to think of alternatives.'"

"Dark Flow" sounds like a new SciFi Channel series. It's not! The dark flow is controversial because the distribution of matter in the observed universe cannot account for it. Its existence suggests that some structure beyond the visible universe -- outside our "horizon" -- is pulling on matter in our vicinity.

Back in the Middle Ages, maps showed terrifying images of sea dragons at the boundaries of the known world. Today, scientists have observed strange new motion at the very limits of the known universe - kind of where you'd expect to find new things, but they still didn't expect this. A huge swath of galactic clusters seem to be heading to a cosmic hotspot and nobody knows why.

Cosmologists regard the microwave background -- a flash of light emitted 380,000 years after the universe formed -- as the ultimate cosmic reference frame. Relative to it, all large-scale motion should show no preferred direction. A 2010 study tracked the mysterious cosmic 'dark flow' to twice the distance originally reported. The study was led by Alexander Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"This is not something we set out to find, but we cannot make it go away," Kashlinsky said. "Now we see that it persists to much greater distances - as far as 2.5 billion light-years away," he added.

Dark flow describes a possible non-random component of the peculiar velocity of galaxy clusters. The actual measured velocity is the sum of the velocity predicted by Hubble's Law plus a small and unexplained (or dark) velocity flowing in a common direction. According to standard cosmological models, the motion of galaxy clusters with respect to the cosmic microwave background should be randomly distributed in all directions. However, analyzing the three-year WMAP data using the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, the authors of the study found evidence of a "surprisingly coherent" 600–1000 km/s flow of clusters toward a 20-degree patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.

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 unexplained motion has hundreds of millions of stars dashing towards a certain part of the sky at over eight hundred kilometers per second. Not much speed in cosmic terms, but the preferred direction certainly is: most cosmological models have things moving in all directions equally at the extreme edges of the universe. Something that could make things aim for a specific spot on such a massive scale hasn't been imagined before. The scientists are keeping to the proven astrophysical strategy of calling anything they don't understand "dark", terming the odd motion a "dark flow".

A black hole can't explain the observations - objects would accelerate into the hole, while the NASA scientists see constant motion over a vast expanse of a billion light-years. You have no idea how big that is. This is giant on a scale where it's not just that we can't see what's doing it; it's that the entire makeup of the universe as we understand it can't be right if this is happening.

The hot X-ray-emitting gas within a galaxy cluster scatters photons from the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Because galaxy clusters don't precisely follow the expansion of space, the wavelengths of scattered photons change in a way that reflects each cluster's individual motion.

This results in a minute shift of the microwave background's temperature in the cluster's direction. The change, which astronomers call the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (KSZ) effect, is so small that it has never been observed in a single galaxy cluster.

But in 2000, Kashlinsky, working with Fernando Atrio-Barandela at the University of Salamanca, Spain, demonstrated that it was possible to tease the subtle signal out of the measurement noise by studying large numbers of clusters.

In 2008, armed with a catalog of 700 clusters assembled by Harald Ebeling at the University of Hawaii and Dale Kocevski, now at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the researchers applied the technique to the three-year WMAP data release. That's when the mystery motion first came to light.

The new study builds on the previous one by using the five-year results from WMAP and by doubling the number of galaxy clusters.

"It takes, on average, about an hour of telescope time to measure the distance to each cluster we work with, not to mention the years required to find these systems in the first place," Ebeling said. "This is a project requiring considerable followthrough."

According to Atrio-Barandela, who has focused on understanding the possible errors in the team's analysis, the new study provides much stronger evidence that the dark flow is real. For example, the brightest clusters at X-ray wavelengths hold the greatest amount of hot gas to distort CMB photons. "When processed, these same clusters also display the strongest KSZ signature -- unlikely if the dark flow were merely a statistical fluke," he said.

In addition, the team, which now also includes Alastair Edge at the University of Durham, England, sorted the cluster catalog into four "slices" representing different distance ranges. They then examined the preferred flow direction for the clusters within each slice. While the size and exact position of this direction display some variation, the overall trends among the slices exhibit remarkable agreement.

The researchers are currently working to expand their cluster catalog in order to track the dark flow to about twice the current distance. Improved modeling of hot gas within the galaxy clusters will help refine the speed, axis, and direction of motion.

Future plans call for testing the findings against newer data released from the WMAP project and the European Space Agency's Planck mission, which is also currently mapping the microwave background.

Which is fantastic! Such discoveries force a whole new set of ideas onto the table which, even if they turn out to be wrong, are the greatest ways to advance science and our understanding of everything. One explanation that's already been offered is that our universe underwent a period of hyper-inflation early in its existence, and everything we think of as the vast and infinite universe is actually a small corner under the sofa of the real expanse of reality. Which would be an amazing, if humbling, discovery.

The image at the top of the page shows the most distant object we have ever observed with high confidence, according to Wei Zheng, the leading astronomer of the team at Johns Hopkins University who that noticed the galaxy on multiple images from both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. At 13.2-billion years old, we are technically seeing this galaxy when it was very young, but its light is only reaching Earth now.

The Daily Galaxy via Peter Woit, New Scientist, and JPL

Comments

just as the clergy at the time of Galileo wanted to believe that we were the center of the universe; we want to believe that we are the only universe. "This may sound wacky..." I don't believe in the multi-universe theory; as I don't believe in the single universe theory, either. What would happen if time, space and matter are infinite, and the sum of the universe is finite? What would happen if time and space have no beginning? What would happen if, like galaxies, universes are clustered in formations of hundreds or thousands of universes? Just as there are Rogue galaxies could we be a Rogue Universe orbiting around a much larger universe; as it cannibalizes our universe? Does thinking that we are the only universe in existence the same as thinking that the world is flat?

If other universes do exist, muchless one of them "pulling" on our own universe, then if the statements are true, as stated in this article above, then gravity can originate from inside a universe AND exit and bridge the gap between universes, i.e. attract our universe and our universe obviously would attract another universe.

Gravity would be a surviving force to bridge this gap in time/space to the next fledgling universe.

Before we start counting our chickens before they hatch or our universes before we get to one (since we can't see photons coming from one), let's remember we can not yet perceive ANYTHING beyond the horizon of our own universe and also let's remember that it PAY$ to PUBLI$H paper imprinted with "new" theories, ideas, (stuff proven and unproven...remember the Mars face and Caledonia fiasco?), new findings, new anything etc...."new" tidbits publish in theses, research papers, white papers, paper back books, slick paper magazines, anything new $ELL$. OK? it's sort of funny actually, everyone comes a runnin' over to the new camp, then that gets old and they all go a runnin. over to the other new camp and it keeps on and on adnauseum. But that's the dynamic item we call "science"...that's why it is so compelling, science never gets borning...it is paved with new bricks constantly. Science is the thinking man's centerfold.

And let's also remember about the so called "edge" of our universe (given it has an edge/horizon) that we can perceive matter racing out to the "edge" of our own universe (nearing velocity "C") at right or oblique angles for if we saw direct on, matter going away from us at just under the speed of light, we wouldn't see photons it at all...the red shift would cancel out photon's frequencies totally relative to us, fairly stationary relative to the furthest matter.

i'd like to be on the et meet and greet team. is there a list somewhere? i'd tell them to go away and come back in maybe 1,000 years to see if we've matured enough to have ended constant warring, become friendlier to each other, survived global warming, matured beyond believing in a deity, ended gun violence, and gotten rid of all republicans.

see preview above.

i'd like to be on the meet and greet team to tell them to go away and come back in maybe 500 years to see if we've survived global warming, stopped our constant warring and adopted peace as the norm, gotten rid of our major diseases including guns, learned to love rather than decimate our planet, developed myriad energy sources, begun new beginnings on other planets, gotten past the super-intelligent robot bugaboo, significantly extended our lifespan, put emerging technologies to the best of uses, found ways to educate and make life better for all of us not only the blessed and wealthy, nurtured creativity and innovation and exploration and art and honest expression, and noted in our history books that we elected an enlightened person to be president in 2016.

THIS IS NOTHING NEW, OUR GALAXY HAS THOUSANDS OF BILLIONS OF YEARS DOING THE SAME THING...

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