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"Dark Flow" Outside Observable Universe

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the here-comes-galactus dept.

NASA 583

DynaSoar writes "NASA astrophysicists have discovered what they claim is something outside the observable universe exerting an effect on the observable. The material is pulling clusters of galaxies towards a region of space known not to contain sufficient matter to create the effect. They can only speculate on what the material is and how space might differ there: 'In these regions, space-time might be very different, and likely doesn't contain stars and galaxies (which only formed because of the particular density pattern of mass in our bubble). It could include giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe. These structures are what researchers suspect are tugging on the galaxy clusters, causing the dark flow.'"

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THE PINK SOCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132003)

Clik here for details... [thepinksock.com]

Re:THE PINK SOCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132243)

It is night here and America sleeps. On the other side of the world, Europe stumbles into the daylight. Now, we speak. A long history was shared between men. Once, you would have been my brothers. You have changed things between us. A separation, a chasm. You've gone your way and I've gone mine. A boy becomes a man dreaming what it would be to know you. To travel to your shores, embrace your culture. Innocently, we would agree on what is right and what is wrong. The man sees differently now. You hated me and I did not even know it. I romanticized you, yet you despised me. And for what? I couldn't know. The only choice now to give what has been given. You can have it back. It is yours now. From my human heart to you. Stay away from this. Remain in where is now the daylight. Here in the darkness there is no place for you. The ocean between us. Please let it remain. I want to kill you. And given the chance, I will.

So this is war. And my weapons are aimed to reach you.

Re:THE PINK SOCK (-1, Offtopic)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25132365)

Nous sommes désoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n'avons pas voté pour lui.

Re:THE PINK SOCK (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#25132547)

Slashdot, vous échouez Unicode.

Re:THE PINK SOCK (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 6 years ago | (#25132685)

You need the link to the picture for lulz.

On clothes exported from USA to France: [We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We didn't vote for him]

Re:THE PINK SOCK (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25132815)

yeah. I wonder if it actually happened. Since when does the US make clothes and if we did since when do we export them to France?

I thought we ran up huge deficits to squander the planet's resources on an unsustainable way of life, not exporting things too.

Re:THE PINK SOCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132691)

So are you an american threating europeans or is it the other way around?

One thing I can say is you are an idiot

woot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132027)

first

Re:woot (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25132479)

fail.

Silly trend in science (1)

Xiph (723935) | about 6 years ago | (#25132671)

Why is it that science is currently in it's goth phase, everything has to be named "Dark x".

just goes to show how much being a drama queen matters, compared to just the old way of demonstrating experiments.

They are as much Drama Scientists as Jack Thompson is a Drama Lawyer.
Though fortunately not Retard Scientists the same way JT is a Retard Lawyer

Great! (4, Funny)

incognito84 (903401) | about 6 years ago | (#25132035)

Now I feel even smaller than I did yesterday. Good job, science!

Re:Great! (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#25132091)

Maybe you should get one of those pumps.

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 6 years ago | (#25132283)

Medicine giveth and science taketh away.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25132325)

i think it's kinda cool. the idea that there are even more massive structures out there than what's in our observable universe is really quite mind-boggling. but without stars and galaxies i wonder what kind of emergent structures or phenomena could exist beyond our observable bubble.

i'm guessing it's probably not possible for biological life to form in such a radically different environment, but then again maybe i just lack the imagination to conceive of such possibilities. it seems like within our observable universe for any biological life to evolve it must follow certain patterns dictated by the laws of physics/chemistry. but if space-time in these regions is so different from our observable universe then who knows? our level of consciousness compared to what exists out there might be like comparing an amoeba with a blue whale. even the time scales experienced by other life forms could be drastically different from ours. entire civilizations could spring forth and flicker out of existence all in the blink of an eye.

but since we can't even observe what is out there maybe this is all pointless speculation.

Re:Great! (1)

Energizerbunny (670248) | about 6 years ago | (#25132399)

Its a dimple in their lens.

Since looking farther = further in time (1)

zymano (581466) | about 6 years ago | (#25132041)

Then are we also looking at near the time of the big bang?

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (5, Informative)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 6 years ago | (#25132065)

Then are we also looking at near the time of the big bang?

Since no one reads TFA anyway, and since you clearly didn't:

The universe is thought to have formed about 13.7 billion years ago. So even if light started travelling toward us immediately after the Big Bang, the farthest it could ever get is 13.7 billion light-years in distance. There may be parts of the universe that are farther away (we can't know how big the whole universe is), but we can't see farther than light could travel over the entire age of the universe.

And then:

A theory called inflation posits that the universe we see is just a small bubble of space-time that got rapidly expanded after the Big Bang. There could be other parts of the cosmos beyond this bubble that we cannot see. In these regions, space-time might be very different, and likely doesn't contain stars and galaxies (which only formed because of the particular density pattern of mass in our bubble). It could include giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe. These structures are what researchers suspect are tugging on the galaxy clusters, causing the dark flow.

Finally, on a side note, years of watching slashdot paid off in a truly interesting story!

Are we alone? (4, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 6 years ago | (#25132085)

Years of watching slashdot paid off in a truly interesting story

Yes and the editors missed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run it under the heading "NASA SCIENTISTS DISCOVER GOD." Damn!

Re:Are we alone? (5, Funny)

Chris Rhodes (1059906) | about 6 years ago | (#25132773)

Cthulu waits.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (4, Interesting)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 6 years ago | (#25132229)

What bugs me is that this "bubble" of the known universe really isn't a bubble at all, it's just the physical limit of our ability to observe; we have no means of determining the extent of this "bubble". Therefore, claiming that there could be "giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe" just outside this bubble seems somewhat... convenient.

While I agree that this is one of the more interesting stories on slashdot in years, there are many aspects of contemporary cosmological theories that I remain highly skeptical of.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (4, Informative)

Plutonite (999141) | about 6 years ago | (#25132447)

And there are aspects of many contemporary theories (and lesser recognized works) that are equally skeptical of, and orthogonal to, each other. I personally don't know enough GR to talk confidently about why this is not exciting, but if it does turn out to be exciting, expect some very well written and insightful roundups here:

www.cosmicvariance.com

Small note: I have found Sean Carrol's [and team] work on the internet to be some of the most accessible stuff available from brilliant minds in science today. Of course, every time you read something dumbed down mathematically (even if only slightly), you end up hating yourself for not spending the time instead on understanding the 3 years worth of adv.math courses you need to really grasp what is happening. But the upside is that you can spend 15 minutes reading some well written summary by people like these, and end up getting a fairly good idea of the issue at hand all the same. Kudos to science "bloggers" (esp world-leading academics) everywhere. You make the internet suck a lot less.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25132453)

If we are observing far-away galaxies being affected by the stuff too far away for us to observe directly, maybe we are observing the stuff outside our bubble indirectly? This visibility can be transitive?

Also, maybe we can also "observe" the stuff outside our bubble via the effects of "spooky action at a distance"?

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 years ago | (#25132695)

No, our universe could be a black hole. In that case, the boundary or "bubble" has a much stronger meaning, and it could make more sense to talk about material 'outside' our universe.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (0, Offtopic)

claygate (531826) | about 6 years ago | (#25132371)

Do posts on sigs count as "on topic"?

That's interesting. I'm going to see if I can mod this post.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (0)

Ironpoint (463916) | about 6 years ago | (#25132645)

In my opinion, no mind, no universe. Since no human life existed at the supposed time of the big bang, it could not have 'happened' in any real sense any more than a collapse sometime in the future has happened. I should also point out that I don't believe in other minds, so this makes it even less likely that it happened since I am not at the big bang or its time.

Re:Since looking farther = further in time (2, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 6 years ago | (#25132709)

I would like to counterpoint that I don't believe in your mind, and this post was never posted. It just was.

The Underverse is there ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132043)

and it is the weight of the undead that is pulling us that way. only in space noone can hear them scream.

Re:The Underverse is there ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 6 years ago | (#25132051)

yeah, either that, or the fat of the basement dwellers.

The Universe goes on Forever (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132075)

We are going to continue to find things that we don't know about, because the Universe goes forever. Let me repeat that, FOREVER. Just because there may be an edge to what we think the Universe is doesn't mean that things just end there. It isn't rocket surgery, it is logic. If the known universe is expanding outward, that means that it has to have someplace to go, right?

Or am I just high right now?

Re:The Universe goes on Forever (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 6 years ago | (#25132113)

It isn't rocket surgery, it is logic. If the known universe is expanding outward, that means that it has to have someplace to go, right? Or am I just high right now?

Ummm....I would say the latter (bold emphasis mine). Then again, it is very easy to confuse rocket surgery and logic.

Re:The Universe goes on Forever (4, Funny)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 6 years ago | (#25132163)

" If the known universe is expanding outward, that means that it has to have someplace to go, right?

Or am I just high right now?"

I'd say it's a little of both.

Re:The Universe goes on Forever (4, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 6 years ago | (#25132811)

Your reasoning is trapped by trying to imagine the universe as some defined boundary expanding. It's the same reasoning that images the Big Bang as an explosion in space.

The bang wasn't an explosion in spacetime, it was an explosion of spacetime. The expansion of space just means that the metric which measures distance between two points that stay at the same location changes. As time passes, two points which stay at the same location on some hypothetical reference grid will first measure one foot apart, then two, then five, etc. They aren't going anywhere, they're being carried along on space itself.

Torus universe (0)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#25132083)

I had heard from LiveScience that someone had been speculating our universe was shaped like a higher dimensional torus. Isn't there a type of hyperdimensional torus with a very small hole that kind of looks like a cushion (the middle one [wikimedia.org] )? Maybe that could cause material to flow to a central point while the torus expands.

Also, if a 3D universe is projected as a surface of a 3D figure, be it sphere, cylinder, torus, or the friendly dodecahedron, would there be any places that could lead to the core?

Re:Torus universe (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 6 years ago | (#25132103)

I had heard from LiveScience that someone had been speculating our universe was shaped like a higher dimensional torus. Isn't there a type of hyperdimensional torus with a very small hole that kind of looks like a cushion (the middle one [wikimedia.org])? Maybe that could cause material to flow to a central point while the torus expands.

I don't understand this speculation -- is there any reason to believe that matter is flowing to the center of the universe while it expands? TFA talks about unexplained forces from the region of space beyond the reach of light from the big bang, i.e. the unobservable universe. Although it says space/time probably doesn't work the same there, there's no reason to believe in exotic higher-dimensional structures for the universe unless there's a good reason and empirical evidence to do so.

Re:Torus universe (1)

Kligat (1244968) | about 6 years ago | (#25132257)

Sorry, I was just wondering if natural curvature could have an effect like that of a large concentration of mass, or if the universe is entirely convex.

I'm no astronomer (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | about 6 years ago | (#25132105)

But I'd say if lots of really big things are being affected, then there could be a bigger thing out there.

It's a theory I know. I'd like to call it Cen's Big Fucking Thing theory, it's a big ball of stuff, chairs, signs, tanks, gravel and so on, literally sucking the universe dry of interesting stuff. A universal suck, maybe even a multiversal suck mechanism. Either way, I'm pretty sure we'll not see it coming.

Re:I'm no astronomer (3, Funny)

incognito84 (903401) | about 6 years ago | (#25132167)

So it's essentially like a giant vacuum (cleaner)?

Re:I'm no astronomer (3, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | about 6 years ago | (#25132181)

Yes, a big bagless vacuum cleaner. In my theory I'll outline to time of the apocalypse, or as I call it, Dyson time.

What if... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132411)

> Yes, a big bagless vacuum cleaner. In my theory I'll outline to time of the apocalypse, or as I call it, Dyson time.

So if they had instead discovered the Cosmic Forge, would you have called it Hammer Time?

Re:I'm no astronomer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132821)

Is it possible that the Big Fucking Thing is in fact a humongously gigantic Dyson sphere [wikipedia.org] ?

In many fictional accounts, the Dyson sphere concept is most often interpreted as an artificial hollow sphere of matter around a star .. Such a shell would have no net gravitational interaction with its englobed sun (see Shell theorem), and could drift in relation to the central star. If such movements went uncorrected, they could eventually result in a collision between the sphere and the star - most likely with disastrous results.

Replace 'star' and 'sun' with 'observable universe bubble' and the science is just astounding!

Re:I'm no astronomer (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | about 6 years ago | (#25132187)

no no no, that makes no sense. It must be a large collection of missing left socks!!!

Re:I'm no astronomer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132335)

Your theory sucks

Different Universes (Judaism) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132111)

Know that there are different universes: Asiyah, Yitzirah, Biriyah, and Azilut.
- The physical world is in the lower parts of Asiyah.
- When one travels to the end of physical space, meaning after all stars and Galaxies, one would be warped to a higher dimension.
- This would happen gradually as he got closer.
- Getting to this point would take millions of light years. In meditations one can get there very fast.

Re:Different Universes (norse mythology) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132489)

Yes, but norse mythology have nine worlds or universes in it, but this finding doesn't make it more real for that.

Your hypothesis is flawed sir!

In fact, several religions have imagined that there are multiple worlds or universes, so the multiverse idea seem to map in nicely on all of them.

Before you assert the truthfulness of Judaism (and in this I also include whatever derived versions of it that exists like Christendom and Islam (which is derived from Christianity)); you should also give equal space to greek, roman, norse and keltic mythology (sorry, I don't know that much about non European ancient religions, but you may continue the list on your own).

Because you do not consider the other alternatives your assertions here are flawed and one sided.

It is a bit like saying out loud 3 before rolling a dice showing 3. Once I did that 3 times in a row, despite this I am unable to predict dice rolls any more accurately than other people.

Flimflammery (5, Insightful)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | about 6 years ago | (#25132119)

I'm actually pretty excited at this news. Granted, my understanding of astrophysics is limited to Hawking books and guests of George Noory (kidding, kind of). But I look forward to anything that seems to pin down the concept of 'dark matter'.

Dark matter to me has always smacked of a Victorian Era flimflam artist talking about the aether. And I don't care how dapper Mortimer T. Snerd is dressed, I'm not drinking his dark matter kool-aid until I can get a better explination for it than 'its invisible, supermassive, unobservable, and so totally there'. If you can't explain it to me, the interested layman, you may need to put your theory back in the crucible o' truth. Its probably not done yet.

Re:Flimflammery (2, Insightful)

RichiH (749257) | about 6 years ago | (#25132445)

'Can be understood by an interested layman' is definitely the wrong metric for measuring scientific advancement.

That being said, the aether & dark matter/energy analogy is something I have been thinking about as well. It _does_ feel like a crutch for current theories. Or someone figures out where this stuff hides in the next 24 hours. Who knows :)

Smelloscope (3, Funny)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | about 6 years ago | (#25132129)

Somebody remind Professor Farnsworth not to point the smelloscope at the dark flow. He passed out last time.

Re:Smelloscope (0, Offtopic)

Greyfox (87712) | about 6 years ago | (#25132317)

Was it a dark flow in the vicinity of Uranus? That is definitely not a good dark flow to point the Smelloscope at.

Gravity Leech (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 6 years ago | (#25132133)

> NASA astrophysicists have discovered what they claim is something outside the observable universe exerting an effect on the observable.

The third episode of Brian Greene's "Elegant Universe" documentary miniseries on PBS said that while matter is confined to the known dimensions, its possible that gravity isn't and so can move through dimensions. The example they feel is that we could possibly detect the gravity of 'something' in another Universe by its gravity, even though we could never actually touch it. Wonder if this is it?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/ [pbs.org]

In other news... (5, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | about 6 years ago | (#25132149)

The Dark Matter in US is pulling a ball busting amount of money away from tax payers to Large Banks.
In this area of Universe known as Capitol Hill and White House, the normal laws of space-time continumm is suspended so that banks which screw up your money get your money to bail out themselves.

Hmmmmm.... (2, Funny)

paniq (833972) | about 6 years ago | (#25132169)

I have a bad feeling about this.

Re:Hmmmmm.... (2, Funny)

paniq (833972) | about 6 years ago | (#25132689)

Episode VIII: The Dark Flow

For greater emotional effect, imagine the original post in yellow colored font, scrolling to the horizon in front of a panorama of stars. Add some John Williams fanfares while you are at it.

Sensationalist Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132185)

Is it just me or is "dark" an over-used buzz-word in astronomy/astrophysics. 'Dark' Matter, 'Dark' Energy, 'Dark' flow. 'Dark' Star, well the last one was a Beck song.

Re:Sensationalist Much? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | about 6 years ago | (#25132199)

Fine, we'll replace 'dark' with 'mystery'. Actually Mystery Matter does have a nice ring to it.

Re:Sensationalist Much? (2, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | about 6 years ago | (#25132209)

Won't be long until astronomers discover the Odelay Nebulae. A cluster of three that resemble a microphone and a pair of turntables. The only question is 'Where its at?'.

Re:Sensationalist Much? (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25132377)

Dark + Science = We have no clue what's going on please fund us

Disclosure: I'm a heavy advocate of funding the sciences and a scientist myself. But seriously guys, just admit it if you don't have a clue;)

To put it from my freshman chem course:

If someone talks about:
Yuan-Teller distortion - 50% chance bullshit
Second-Order Yuan-Teller distortion - 100% chance bullshit
Pseudo-Second-Order Yuan-Teller distortion - You are being mocked.

Re:Sensationalist Much? (1)

retech (1228598) | about 6 years ago | (#25132655)

They originally were calling it Colored Matter but for some reason that got changed to Matter of Color. Now it just shows you got lab cred if you call it Dark Matter.

The plot thickens (3, Interesting)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 6 years ago | (#25132193)

Suddenly, the predicted "end of the universe" models look a little dusty.

bah (2, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 years ago | (#25132195)

A force you can't detect exerting force?

The universe is mmuch more complex than the average scientist lets on.

Re:bah (5, Insightful)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | about 6 years ago | (#25132233)

Don't tell anyone, but when contrasting known information against an infinite cosmos...the average scientist is basically as clueless as the rest of us.

Re:bah (1, Offtopic)

earlymon (1116185) | about 6 years ago | (#25132735)

Absolutely wrong. My wife has friends that are mind-numbingly clueless, right down to Nevada being part of California.

While the jury is out on M theory, et al, and now dark flow - and while your point may have been that the unknown is so disproportionately large to that already known as to not essentially matter - you're wrong. A in philosophy, F in science.

I sentence you to a night with my wife's friends while I escape to the local pub. I predict that upon joining me at said pub later, should you in fact retain the mental skills necessary for perambulation to thus make it as far as the pub, you will never again allow your brane to stray in such a fashion.

(Brane isn't misspelled - it's what'll be left of your once-brain.)

Entropy (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#25132211)

Maybe that part of the universe just has accumulated a lot of entropy. Lots of mass, not much in the way of energetic matter.

ermmm... (4, Interesting)

dexmachina (1341273) | about 6 years ago | (#25132213)

The speed of light is also the maximum speed of causation...if these "super structures" are outside the observable universe, how in the hell are they affecting anything within the observable universe? If they can exert causal influence on these galaxies, and the light from these galaxies has time to reach us... I could be wrong but I feel like someone, somewhere, is seriously contradicting themselves. Maybe those string theorists can tell us if its possible there's cosmic string tied between the galaxies and a giant tug boat in hyperspace...

Re:ermmm... (1)

DerWulf (782458) | about 6 years ago | (#25132261)

Well, the space between universes or branes or whatever might not be very large or not subject to our puny laws ...

Re:ermmm... (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25132295)

You can't see ships past the YOUR horizon, but those ships could certainly see other ships that you can't see that are beyond YOUR horizon, but not theirs.

Re:ermmm... (5, Insightful)

dexmachina (1341273) | about 6 years ago | (#25132353)

Yes I know, but we can see the galaxies travelling under the effect of this supposed dark flow. If we can see the galaxies being affected by these superstructures, then the light travelling to us from the galaxies which we now see left after the causal influence reached them, which means the causal influence had time to reach /us/. Which means the super structures aren't in the unobservable universe...

Re:ermmm... (3, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | about 6 years ago | (#25132725)

Yes but by the time those other ships were able to report to you the ships that they see that you can't, you can see those other ships, too.

Re:ermmm... (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | about 6 years ago | (#25132747)

My understanding (and I'm most likely 100% wrong) is that imagine the Big Bang didn't create everything in the universe. Instead it just created everything we can see. There exists stuff beyond our eyesight that's existed since before the big bang. We can't see it because light from stars has yet to travel to it, bounce off it and then travel back to us.

Like everything else in the universe, this invisible matter could still have mass which exerts a force much like stuff does within the visible universe.

Why have we never seen it then? Well perhaps as everything in the visible universe expands, it also pushes back the stuff outside the visible universe.

We can know one thing about this stuff though. It doesn't contain any stars for the simple reason that we would have seen the light travel from it.

NOW this answers a question I've had for a very long time, which is "why did the big bang happen?" which would be "because the matter in the universe formed together tight enough and in such a way as to create the big bang" which means there could have been other big bangs in the universe which means we might one day (millenia from now) see light from another big bang.

However it does raise yet another question "what created all the stuff that exists outside the visible universe?" and before someone says god I then ask "What created god?"

Newbie question (1)

swehack (975617) | about 6 years ago | (#25132227)

now i don't know much of anything about astrophysics but i love reading about it and it's my understanding that if these massive objects outside of our universe was causing the gravitational pull that is expanding the bodies in our universe, wouldn't that mean that different parts of the universe would expand at various speeds depending on the size of the massive object outside of our universe? i'm just imagining it all as a bubble in my head so i'm sure my image if flawed

Re:Newbie question (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 6 years ago | (#25132767)

From my understanding (from 6 years ago in high school phyics) the shape of the visible universe isn't a bubble but instead the shape of something else. I think it was the shape of two circular spheres with a thin strip connecting them.

This dark flow could explain why the universe isn't expanding in a sphere when so much in the universe (planets, stars, bubbles) do seem to naturally fall into spherical shapes.

William James Sidis (2, Interesting)

solferino (100959) | about 6 years ago | (#25132231)

Reminds me of some writing by William James Sidis [wikipedia.org] , published in 1925.

Our previous consideration on the production of radiant energy from the stars indicates that such production of radiant energy is only possible where the second law of thermodynamics is followed, that is, in a positive section of the universe. In a negative section of the universe the reverse process must take place; namely, space is full of radiant energy, presumably produced in the positive section of space, and the stars use this radiant energy to build up a higher level of heat. All radiant energy in that section of space would tend to be absorbed by the stars, which would thus constitute perfectly black bodies; and very little radiant energy would be produced in that section of space, but would mostly come from beyond the boundary surface. What little radiant energy would be produced in the negative section of space would be pseudo-teleologically directed only towards stars which have enough activity to absorb it, and no radiant energy, or almost none, would actually leave the negative section of space. The peculiarity of the boundary surface between the positive and negative sections of space, then, is, that practically all light that crosses it, crosses it in one direction, namely, from the positive side to the negative side. If we were on the positive side, as seems to be the case, then we could not see beyond such surface, though we might easily have gravitational or other evidence of bodies existing beyond that surface.

Furthermore, just as in the positive section of space, light is given out uniformly in all directions, so, in the negative section, light must be absorbed by a star equally from all directions. Thus, to any star in the negative section, light must come in about the same amount from all directions; and, since most of this light comes from the positive sections, it follows that the negative sections must be completely surrounded by positive sections and must therefore be finite in all directions. By reversing this (since we have seen that all physical laws are reversible), it follows that any positive section must also be finite in all directions, and be completely surrounded by negative sections. We thus find the universe to be made up of a number of what we may call bricks, alternately positive and negative, all of approximately the same volume; a sort of three-dimensional checkerboard, the positive spaces counting as white (giving out light), and the negative spaces as black (absorbing light).

Thus what we see is simply the white space that we are in. The surrounding black spaces are invisible, and in addition, absorb the light from the white spaces beyond, so that even those cannot be seen, and, if we judge from the distribution of light in the sky, we get an idea merely of the size and shape of our special white space.

William James Sidis, The Animate and the Inanimate [sidis.net]

Preprint Versions of the Papers (4, Informative)

Jazzer_Techie (800432) | about 6 years ago | (#25132239)

There are preprints of the two relevant papers on astro-ph.

More general version (ApJL)
http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0809.3734 [lanl.gov]

More technical version (ApJ)
http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0809.3733 [lanl.gov]

Re:Preprint Versions of the Papers (3, Interesting)

IHateEverybody (75727) | about 6 years ago | (#25132817)

Either I'm confused or the write up and author of the space.com article are just confusing. Granted, I'm not a physicist but it seems to me that the papers are saying something very different from the write up and the article say. Instead of some mysterious new force from outside the universe, the two papers are based on an analysis of the Cold Dark Matter theory which has been around for some time.

The article is also confusing when it talks about the "known universe." The Inflationary Theory of the origin of the universe says that early on in its existence, the universe underwent a drastically fast expansion. When physicists talk about the "observable universe," they are referring to the idea that Inflation caused parts of the universe to expand so rapidly that their light cannot reach us in the age of the universe. Now those regions are still part of our universe, we just can't see them because they are "over the horizon" so to speak like a ship on the ocean which disappears from view once it gets so far away from shore that the Earth curves away from our field of vision.

In fact this last point appears to be the most interesting part of the papers if I understand them correctly. The papers suggest that it is possible to peak over the horizon and get an idea of what the universe looks like beyond the limits of what we can see with our telescopes. Like the mast of a ship peaking out from the edge of the horizon, clusters of galaxies that we could not see otherwise can be detected by carefully measuring the effects of their gravity on regions of the universe that we can see.

Gravity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132259)

Excuse my ignorance but isn't the speed of gravity about the same as the speed of light?

They claim they can't "see" whats causing this because light from there hasn't reached us yet, yet the gravity waves from the "dark object" have reached the region of space where this "dark flow" is. So can't they calculate when we should be seeing the first light from that "dark object"?

If it even emits light... IMO it seems to be a farflung theory, still intresting though.

Re:Gravity (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 6 years ago | (#25132775)

Couldn't the expansion of the visible universe be pushing back the "dark flow"?

weird news = good news (1)

ArcSecond (534786) | about 6 years ago | (#25132275)

This is the kind of thing that makes me love cosmology. I am really looking forward to the stuff that is going to come out one we have more gravitational observatories online, so we can see both really deep into the universe and also see structures that might otherwise be invisible.
As opposed to things like the LHC (which is cool, granted), where the best you can hope for is that it finds something different than what they expect by Standard Theory, the field of astrophysics is almost scary in the weirdness that seems to be just around the corner.

Maybe it's just a really big moon... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 6 years ago | (#25132287)

3, 2, 1...

It's Obvious (4, Funny)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 6 years ago | (#25132323)

It's God

Re:It's Obvious (1)

Basehart (633304) | about 6 years ago | (#25132653)

Maybe our universe is slowly making its way through god's intestines, only to end up in a vast heavenly toilet bowl one day.

Yawn...on that note I'm off to bed.

Re:It's Obvious (1)

Zoolander (590897) | about 6 years ago | (#25132837)

There's a Uranus joke in there somewhere, but I can't be bothered...

Beyond the universe? It... (1)

alienzed (732782) | about 6 years ago | (#25132327)

must be the beast with a billion backs...

I've read this way back in college... (1)

PDAMedic (1370769) | about 6 years ago | (#25132329)

Perhaps the very act of observation changes the result of observation.

Wow, lets just add another hypothical entity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132337)

What NASA really meant to say was, "Shit, we just found something else that does not fit our current model of the universe. Lets just make some stuff up and call it a new discovery"

Maybe this time people will wake up.....probably not.

http://bigbangneverhappened.org/ [bigbangneverhappened.org]

Re:Wow, lets just add another hypothical entity (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25132387)

Promote space research, privatize NASA.

Seriously guys, the place is a red-taped bureaucracy waste. They're too busy running background checks on people in non-sensitive jobs to do research.

Re:Wow, lets just add another hypothical entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132425)

You know, first I thought that that whole 'big bang never happened' idea was ridiculous.

I have to admit that at that time I had not really looked into things. Then I stumbled upon the Electric Universe / Plasma Cosmology approach and I must say that I find it very intriguing:

Electric Universe Predictions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRrAswC4CYo [youtube.com]

News:
http://www.holoscience.com/news.php [holoscience.com]

Interview The Electric Universe Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iasEwhBHyyU [youtube.com]

Interview The Electric Sky: Donald E. Scott Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRqNdpKxq_0 [youtube.com]

Perhaps it's time to give some more time to these ideas that were founded by people like Nobel prize winner Hannes Alfven.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1970/alfven-bio.html [nobelprize.org]

Great Attractor (1)

little1973 (467075) | about 6 years ago | (#25132369)

The Great Attractor [wikipedia.org] is another mistery. Entire galaxies are pulled toward it where there is nothing just empty space.

Passing the boundary (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 6 years ago | (#25132381)

Didn't Star Trek and Babylon 5 deal with this already?

We all know what it is... (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | about 6 years ago | (#25132389)

It's the giant glass of Guiness that we're floating around in inside of our little bubble.

I forgot to say..... (4, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 6 years ago | (#25132413)

I'd intended to add this to the summary, but forgot.

TFA has a very nice, if brief, explication on the "universe" vs. "observable universe". Too many people (science and science writing pros among them) make assertions about the former when they should specify the latter.

Go ahead and read it, it's only a space.com article (ie. very short).

Re:I forgot to say..... (1)

uassholes (1179143) | about 6 years ago | (#25132731)

Except that there is an estimate based on the rate of expansion* that the diameter is at least 93 billion light years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe#Size.2C_age.2C_contents.2C_structure.2C_and_laws).

(* faster than light)

LHC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132427)

Perhaps the parallel universe had more success with their LHC.

It could be ANYTHING (2, Insightful)

Auckerman (223266) | about 6 years ago | (#25132443)

To paraphrase David Hume: There is no reason to believe that the laws of physics have always been what they are today at all points in space and at all points in time. While it is well within reason, and quite likely, that the Universe follows neat patterns quite specifically, when one runs into really odd data that doesn't fit into your tidy boxes it might be time to rethink things. Dark matter/flow/energy or whatever the new buzzwords scientists come up with are stop gap measures meant to really say, "we haven't the foggiest idea what's going on, but it doesn't quite add up".

Dark Flow? (0, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | about 6 years ago | (#25132471)

see an OB/GYN & stfu, kthx

Psh (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | about 6 years ago | (#25132615)

Anyone who thinks that we live in the highest form of universe that, when destroyed, will end all life in our dimension is themselves as self-centered and close minded as those who believed we were the center of the universe.

Diameter of the observable universe? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 6 years ago | (#25132629)

Last time I read something about it (can't remember where but it was probably SciAm) it was said that the diameter of the visible universe is far greater than 2*13.7 Gly because the universe has expanded significantly since those first photons got underway. After all, they got stretched several times (redshift.)

Does this imply FTL? (3, Interesting)

Excelcia (906188) | about 6 years ago | (#25132661)

Ok, here's a question for you. The "observable universe" isn't just the observable universe for us, it is that for the whole universe. Nowhere in the universe that is observable to us can you go and observe beyond 13.7 billion light years. We're all in the same boat. However, in the area of the universe that is being affected by this phenomena, they must be able to observe what is causing it. Elsewise, it couldn't be affecting them. There is nothing that can affect me that is unobservable. You can't be so far away that you are beyond my observation range and yet still affect me, unless you are exerting FTL influence on me. So, if this is truly an influence from beyond the visible universe, then that would seem to me to imply FTL.

Re:Does this imply FTL? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132845)

This problem is solved in what will eventually be called the "Somebody Else's Problem" or SEP field.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_Else%27s_Problem

The fact that anything going on 13.7 billion light years away, given light speed restrictions, will take longer than your life or mine to get here instantaneously makes it Somebody Else's Problem. Thus, we cannot observe it, and it's more than likely anyone who is close enough to view it is also Somebody Else's Problem.

Azatoth? (1)

Zoolander (590897) | about 6 years ago | (#25132721)

There you are, little fella. I've been looking all over for you!

Map of these regions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25132771)

Scientists have attempted to map these regions. They are, of course, not sure what is tugging at the galaxies, but by looking at the relative velocities it's possible to create a map of the structure of the filament like "flows". Their best guess at the moment is: this [venganza.org]

yadda yadda (1)

airider (728197) | about 6 years ago | (#25132849)

So what they're really saying is..... yadda, yadda, yadda....we don't know what the hell is going on with the universe...everytime we think we do we find something new that throws us all for a loop.... No big surprise....can't believe the astrophysics community takes any "hard data" about the universe seriously since the limitions of what we are able to observe and comprehend right now are staggering...we're just at the very beggining of understanding the universe and it's underlying mechanism....let's quit trying to make bold statments about it's age and "dark matter" when we barely have a clue about it at all... I swear this community has as many "politicians" wrangling for prestige and power as the government does....
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