Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lopsided Map of the Cosmos Offers New Clues to the Universe’s Origins

An unexplained feature appears in the Planck satellite image of the early universe: At the largest scales, temperature fluctuations are more extreme in the half of the sky to the right of the gray line than to the left.

And Matthew Kleban thinks he sees it in the most detailed snapshot yet taken of the dawn of the universe. 

The satellite image, released by astronomers in March, confirmed what an earlier image suggested: Half of the young cosmos was slightly coarser than the other.

With few other leads about what went on in the early moments of the universe, Kleban is among dozens of theoretical cosmologists trying to piece together a cosmic origin story from the grainy shadow of a new clue.

“When they smack into each other, there’s kind of a shock wave that propagates into our universe,” said Kleban, an associate professor of physics at New York University. Such a shock wave — if that’s what the image shows — would be evidence in support of the multiverse hypothesis, a well-known but unproven idea that ours is one of infinite universes that bubbled into existence inside a larger vacuum.

For the rest of the story: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/06/cosmic-map-universe-origins/ 

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