So it Could be a ‘Supervoid’ That’s Causing the Mysterious CMB ‘Cold Spot’

Only last month I recorded a DNews video about the awesome possibilities of the “Cold Spot” that sits ominously in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropy maps (anisotropies = teenie tiny temperature variations in the CMB).

I still hold onto the hope that this anomalous low temperature region is being caused by a neighboring parallel universe squishing up against our own. But evidence is mounting for there actually being a vast low density region — known as a “supervoid” — between us and that Cold Spot.

And that’s crappy news for my dreams of cosmologists finding bona fide observational clues of the multiverse hypothesis any time soon. The Cold Spot could just be the frigid fingerprint of this supervoid etched into our observations of the CMB.

But as this supervoid could be as wide as 1.8 billion light-years, this discovery is still crazy cool — the supervoid could be the newest candidate for the largest structure ever discovered in the universe. Suck it, Sloan Great Wall.

Read more about this new research published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in my Discovery News blog.

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The Universe Could Soon Be 6,000 Years Old… In Texas

Yesterday, some strange stuff went down in Texas. It may not be a surprising development, especially if you have been following Phil Plait’s articles at Bad Astronomy, but it is still… strange. I don’t usually discuss creationism on Astroengine.com as I’ve always considered much of the wrangling to be an evolution/intelligent design “debate” (debate? Really? Which century are we in again?). To be honest, I’m glad I work and write in a field that can sidestep a lot of creationist bunkum. But hold up there, it’s not that simple. It would appear that some individuals in the Texan educational board have taken it upon themselves to give schools “the option” to teach, in astronomy classes, an ‘alternative’ to Big Bang theory. OK, that’s cool, what alternative scientific theory can be put forward?

That’s the problem, there isn’t a scientific alternative. Big Bang theory is solid, and with the help of WMAP we know the Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago (+/-120 million years). Unfortunately, one member of the Texas Educational Board wants the state’s science classes to teach creationism alongside cosmology, meaning students will have one of the most confusing and damaging cosmology lessons I can possibly imagine.

Guess what kids, the Universe is somewhere between 6,000 to 13,730,000,000 years old. Yes, it’s looking like creationism will be taught alongside cosmology
Continue reading “The Universe Could Soon Be 6,000 Years Old… In Texas”