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Analysis of Galaxy Spin Reveals Universe Might Be Left-Handed

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the turns-out-we're-in-the-evil-one dept.

Space 171

Taco Cowboy writes "Someone from US is claiming that the universe was born spinning and continues to do so around a preferred axis." The full paper has more details. The researchers measured the spin of a number of galaxies in the northern hemisphere; the data indicated a distinct bias toward left-handed spins. "Longo says that the chance that it could be a cosmic accident is something like one in a million. 'If galaxies tend to spin in a certain direction, it means that the overall universe should have a rather large net angular momentum. Since angular momentum is conserved, it seems it [the universe] must have been "born" spinning.'" Naturally, there is some skepticism: "Neta Bahcall, an astrophysicist at Princeton University in the US, feels that there is no solid evidence for a rotating universe. 'The directional spin of spiral galaxies may be impacted by other local gravitational effects,' she said. She believes that this could result in small correlations in spin rotation over distances less than about 200 Mpc – whereas the observable universe is about 14 Gpc in size."

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North of the equator? (3, Funny)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37752922)

That would explain it.

Re:North of the equator? (5, Funny)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37752994)

No it doesn't. You're looking at it from the wrong side.

Re:North of the equator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753150)

Yup we're just looking at the universe up side down!

Re:North of the equator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753900)

No it doesn't. You're looking at it from the wrong side.

Yes. stupid assumption is stupid.

Why do we have this fixation on 'up'='north'?

Since the horizon "sets" to the east, why is east not "up"? Why not west?

If the universe spins... (2)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37752936)

If the universe spins... what is it spinning in? "Space"?

Does space therefore exist outside the universe (other than in some theoretical brane)?

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

Sprogga (893092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753078)

I was going to ask that too. As of now, my head is spinning trying to understand how you could be spinning in nothing.

Re:If the universe spins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753196)

Forget about the rest of the universe. Just imagine the sun and the earth rotating around each other. Notice the overall spin? That is what the summary is saying. The universe is spinning--nothing all that strange unless you believe in certain long-range symmetries like physicists do.

Re:If the universe spins... (5, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753424)

I was going to ask that too. As of now, my head is spinning trying to understand how you could be spinning in nothing.

That's easy to wrap your head around, given that spin is relative to your center, not to any outside object. Even if you were the only object in the universe, and thus could not see things spinning around you, you could easily feel the pull of your limbs away from your center if you're spinning, or the complete lack of such if you weren't. If there were two disks in the universe, me on one and you on another, and you looked at mine and I looked at yours and each seemed to be spinning relative to the other, you might be confused as to which of us was actually spinning, and which isn't (assuming one isn't), but if we both step away from the center of our disks, one of us will feel pulled towards the edge and one won't, and this won't be relative. We won't each see the other being flung off their disks while we remain unaffected, which would be absurd, rather, we'll both observe one of us fine and the other flung into space. Or possibly we both will be, if both are disks are rotating. In any case, the rate and which we are or aren't flung off will depend entirely on the actual spin of our disks, which are relative to their own centers, and be entirely unrelated to their relative spin to each other. Trying to look at spin from an outside frame of reference will just confuse you, as spin is not, ultimately, a relative measurement, unlike linear motion which is.

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753468)

tl;dr version: You don't spin "in" anything, you spin around your own axis.

...and what is the axis upon which it spins? (1)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753144)

Have we found a "center" of the universe?

Re:...and what is the axis upon which it spins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753344)

Yes, the center of the observable universe is ... where you are. Relativity 101. HTH, HAND

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753174)

No. Spinning is not linear motion, and thus, is not relative. Someone on/in a spinning object and measure the amount of spin absolutely and without reference to any outside objects.

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753188)

*can* measure, that should read...

Re:If the universe spins... (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753412)

Actually, it is still relative, but only using general relativity, which universalizes relativity to include accelerations such as that from either gravitational fields or rotational motion. So, the universes spinning can be generalized as a gravitational field with centrifugal force. No, I don't really understand it myself, but Einstein specifically mentions the spinning disc case in explaining general relativity, so my guess is it would apply here too.

So we still can't say objectively that the universe is spinning. Although, this outwards acceleration could possibly explain the expansion of the universe (instead of "dark energy"). But now I'm completely guessing.

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753668)

I'm guessing too, but wouldn't acceleration due to centrifugal force decrease as the universe expands over time? Similar to an ice skater that holds out her arms to slow a spin. My understanding is that the expansion of the universe is accelerating over time.

Also, if the universe is spinning, wouldn't it collapse into a disk?

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753750)

The accelerating expansion of the universe doesn't show a strong preference for any particular direction. If your conjecture were true, expansion would be accelerating along the equator of the universe and decelerating towards the poles.

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753776)

Ah, yes, true. I was hoping to avoid dragging general relativity into it. My understanding, though, is that there is still a difference -- gravity and uniform acceleration are not distinguishable without outside reference -- but rotational acceleration is different as it's not uniform (your head and feet experience different acceleration, unlike the situation were you standing on the floor in a uniformly accelerating rocket, or the same rocket stationary but sitting on the surface of a planet with gravity). Possibly its still relative, but not in the straightforward way uniform acceleration is. Alas, this is where my understanding of general relativity comes to an end...

In any case, the team of physicists at U.Mich most certainly understand it better than I do. If they say you can say that objective, and I say you can't, I'm almost certainly wrong... I'll take the expert's word for it here.

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754066)

Yes, good point. Interestingly, there are various ways our universe "prefers" certain directions to others. TFA points out that amino acids tend to form left-handed. AFAIK no one really knows why. And of course there is the whole matter-antimatter thing (there should, by symmetry, be equal amounts of both. There isn't, as far was we can tell.)

As far as saying whether the universe is objectively spinning, I think you still can under relativity (we can, for instance, say without doubt that the Earth is spinning), but even for such spinning points the generalized laws of the universe still hold valid. They don't under Newtonian physics or special relativity for that matter. The essential statement of the general theory is that the laws of motion are equally valid in all Guassian coordinate systems, however we can still say that certain objects are in a gravitational field of some sort and distinguish the kind with some effort (rotational, massive, or uniform accelerative). So come to think of it, you were actually right about the objectivity (I think), I was just nitpicking. Sorry :).

To nitpick further: your head and feet do experience different accelerations in a gravitational field. Gravity is 1/R^2, remember? You just don't notice it because of the size involved. You wouldn't on a sufficiently large disc (such as the universe) either.

Re:If the universe spins... (3, Informative)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753448)

If the universe spins... what is it spinning in? "Space"?

Does space therefore exist outside the universe (other than in some theoretical brane)?

Angular momentum can be measured relative to it's self. Objects closer to the center revolve around the axis faster than those at the outside, the different can be measures, and a direction and speed determined.

Re:If the universe spins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753460)

Well it would have to as, in order to be spinning, an object needs to have a frame of reference that it is spinning in relation to. I think this is the Coriolis effect. (Yes, that was FUNNY).

Re:If the universe spins... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753734)

It wouldn't be "spinning" per se, it would have angular momentum. Like an electron has spin, i.e. angular momentum, but is not spinning in a classical sense.

Re:If the universe spins... (3, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753962)

BBC had a really cool animation of all the galaxies orbiting each other in the known universe. Each spiral arm galaxy has the stars orbiting the central black hole. In turn all the centre of every galaxies are trying to move in straight lines, but end up colliding, merging as well as being deflected.

The research here measures the spin axis of each galaxy through doppler shift measurements. The side spinning towards the observer will have an opposite red-shift to the side-spinning away from the observer. From the shape of the galaxy on the camera plane, they can determine the tilt and rotation towards the camera.

What I don't understand is how they define the top and the bottom of the galaxy (or positive axis/negative axis), in order to determine clockwise/anti-clockwise rotation. Otherwise everything is going to be spinning in one direction or the other.

Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37752954)

You're looking at the universe upside down!

Ludicrous (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37752988)

So if I have a spinning top sitting on my desk that is not currently spinning, its angular momentum is determined by the spin of its electrons? I guess this is bad astronomy week on slashdot huh.

Re:Ludicrous (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753024)

Very slow. The paper is from April, and the article is from July.

Re:Ludicrous (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753114)

Wow - that is remarkably...I don't know what!

Re:Ludicrous (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753200)

So if I have a spinning top sitting on my desk that is not currently spinning, its angular momentum is determined by the spin of its electrons? I guess this is bad astronomy week on slashdot huh.

Yes, and you can tell its color by summing up the colors of its quarks, too. /sarcasm

Re:Ludicrous (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753808)

Yes. The angular momentum of a top is the sum of the angular momentum of all of the atoms that make it up. That's their motion around an axis, plus the orbital momentum of the electrons, plus the spins of the electrons and quarks. Since (as far as I know) you can't transform subatomic spin into motion through space, it's usually completely ignored. But, spin and angular momentum are nevertheless considered to be the same thing still. They should average out to zero in any object of interest, so it doesn't really matter at all. Same thing here. The momentum of our galaxy is the rotation of the stars around the center of the galaxy, plus the rotation of the stars themselves. But the stars rotation is pretty minor compared to the total, so it's not important. Since there isn't really a "center" of the universe, then there's no term to "dominate" the rotation of the galaxies, so the "angular momentum" of the universe is the sum of that of the galaxies.

Re:Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754078)

I think that electron spin is not your everyday spin as an electron is a wave as well. Can a wave spin?

Smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753010)

I totally thought this was going to be about a new phone from Samsung -- the "Galaxy Spin" -- made especially for left-handed users...

Re:Smartphone (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753256)

I thought the same thing, glad to know i'm not the only one with android on the mind ! :D

Re:Smartphone (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753672)

Same here!

reference frame? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753016)

Okay, so what is the reference frame for the universe, in which you can measure angular momentum, spin, or even velocity (or even origin)? We measure the sphere of "the observable universe" as the sphere where light could have reached us since the universe began, but we can't assume that we're the center of the WHOLE universe. Presumably since the Big Bang, all stars have been moving outward from one point, but from our vantage point (or any vantage point), all other stars are generally moving away from us. I guess I haven't come to understand how you can work backwards to determine an X Y Z of the Big Bang, nevermind additional spin or momentum.

Re:reference frame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753096)

I didn't think the expansion of the universe involved things moving out from a central point, but the entire size of the universe and distances between *everything* was expanding. Like baking a loaf of raisin bread... the raisins don't expand from the center, the whole thing gets bigger and the raisins get further away from each other.

It has been a while since I read up on the topic though, I'm not claiming to be any sort of authority :)

Re:reference frame? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753236)

Rotational motion is not linear motion. It can be measured absolutely, or if you prefer, relative to itself. There is no need to reference an outside object to determine spin, it can be measured without.

Compare the Galaxy Zoo paper from '08 (5, Informative)

matthiasr (1719724) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753020)

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008MNRAS.388.1686L [harvard.edu] They measured the spin of a few 100000 galaxies in both hemispheres. At first they found the _same_ preferred spin in any direction, then they started mirroring half of the galaxies before showing them to people and the effect vanished. They found no dipole.

Re:Compare the Galaxy Zoo paper from '08 (2)

matthiasr (1719724) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753052)

Sorry, should have re-read first. It was only ~37000 galaxies.

Re:Compare the Galaxy Zoo paper from '08 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754340)

I have to undo my mod to post this. *sigh* From the article:

The HTML program mirrored half of the images at random to avoid scanning biases favoring a particular handedness. The scanners had no visual cue as to whether the image was mirrored.

So, if the universe is left-handed... (1)

DangerOnTheRanger (2373156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753026)

...what does that say about all us right-handed people?

Re:So, if the universe is left-handed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753816)

Nothin. As far as I can tell the only way one can pin "left" or "right" on chirality [wikipedia.org] is by convention. John Ambrose Fleming , yes probably a righty, created the right hand rule [wikipedia.org] that aids in "understanding notation conventions for vectors in 3 dimensions."[Wikipedia].
That's probably how they assigned handedness. They just lacked creativity. They could have use toilet flush spin direction as a notation and ended up with Up Flushing Galaxies and Down Flushing Galaxies.(Wrap fingers of right hand in direction of spin/flush, thumb points up or down.)

Re:So, if the universe is left-handed... (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754432)

They are all wrong. I knew it. I knew it. The universe is like me. It is left handed and it has not much substance ...

Speaking as a Leftie (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753030)

'Everyone is born Right Handed, only the best can Grow out of it'....

Re:Speaking as a Leftie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753214)

The best at being evil. We know your kind, south paw. Ya ern't velcome in 'reund hare!

Re:Speaking as a Leftie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753372)

go back to your pigsty. That is where you belong.

Some of the greatest minds the world has ever know were left handed.

Re:Speaking as a Leftie (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754428)

Therefore, some of the greatest minds the world has ever known were right handed.

Does this mean that we're in a (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753104)

Godel Universe [wikipedia.org] , and that closed timelike loops are possible?

Re:Does this mean that we're in a (1)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753804)

That is an interesting thought, but the Godel Universe also doesn't have "Hubble Expansion [wikipedia.org] " and so technically still doesn't fit with what we have observed of our universe.

Universal North (3, Funny)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753138)

SciFi ...
So does this explain why, when two spaceships meet in deep space they always seem to share the same vertical orientation ?
No matter what species and innate architetural design sense.

Re:Universal North (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753242)

No, but it does explain why the best captains are left-handed.

Re:Universal North (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753370)

On the one hand, this is mostly done for television/movies where it would be confusing to the viewer to have some aliens upside down. On the other hand, it would be nice if they tried to be realistic. But on the gripping hand [wikipedia.org] , the Moties [wikipedia.org] didn't start doing this until they realized that humans were confused and intentionally aligned themselves to our axis even though it was not in their nature to do so...

Re:Universal North (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753784)

So does this explain why, when two spaceships meet in deep space they always seem to share the same vertical orientation ? No matter what species and innate architetural design sense.

Corollary: If a spaceship approaches you flying upside-down, both captains should run like hell, because the other ship - relative to their own - is made of antimatter.

Re:Universal North (1)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753854)

Funny story:

Do you remember the USS Reliant from Star Trek 2? It was unusual for it's time because the engines were on the bottom. They weren't supposed to be. The original design had everything the other way around, but when the model makers got the sketches "up" was mis-labled. They built the ship upside-down and the director decided to just go with it.

Re:Universal North (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754054)

What I don't understand is why when there is a group of ships (of the same species) moving in formation are all at the same orientation. You would think that they would be better tactically aligned in different ways so that all directions are covered by their weapons.

Re:Universal North (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754324)

As you can see in DS9, big armadas form a ribbon like structure which is aligned with the opposing armada. And the ribbon cannot be evaded by flying over it or below it, you have to go left or right or through it.

Re:Universal North (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754206)

Most interactions between ships would be in the orbits around gravity wells. Its unlikely two ships would be able to meet in the void of space. In orbit you have a down and a up just like on the surface of the planet.

Traveling in the solar system it would make sense for ships to aligned with the Orbital plane of the planets. Typically you would expect a vessal to be traveling too and from different planetary bodies. On avarage ships would having vectors close to this plane. I would expect up down preferences would be based on the eventual planned orbits at the destination.

Re:Universal North (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754398)

There may also be prefference based on dirrection the sun is. You may want your ship alligned a special way for solar energy collection. Or to cast the smallest shadow in times of war.

One in a Million (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753162)

Chances of "One in a Million" :

"According to the best estimates of astronomers there are at least one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe." (http://www.physics.org/facts/sand-galaxies.asp)

"This study uses 15158 spiral galaxies with redshifts 0.085 from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey." (http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.2815)

Re:One in a Million (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753584)

Apparently you've never taken a statistics course. As such, it's not easy to explain to you why, but as a matter of fact, the chances of some conclusion being right or wrong based on a random sampling depends only on the size of the random sample, not on the size of the population the sample was taken from. The same odds apply regardless of whether it's 15158 out of a million, a hundred billion, or a trillion trillion. This, however, does assume it is a truly random sample. The criticism of this result is not that it's such a small portion of the hundred billion galaxies, but that it's not truly random selection from across all hundred billion, and thus, might bring in a local bias.

Re:One in a Million (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754002)

I was just quoting. (But about your comment, if there were only 15,160 galaxies altogether, or two more than in the sample, surely the chance of error would be smaller)

Re:One in a Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754394)

Only if your samples are unique.

Re:One in a Million (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753782)

That's one in a million universes, not one in a million galaxies.

Could be tested (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753166)

If this is true, and the Universe is spinning, wouldn't galaxies in a direction diverge from us faster?

Frame of reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753192)

Alternatively the center of the universe is spinning and everything else isn't.

Diddly (1)

Jimmy Avalanche (1384111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753276)

Ned Flanders will be thrilled.

Probably spins the other way (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753286)

It probably spins the other way south of the galactic equator.

Whose Left? (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753296)

Maybe we've just been looking at it upside-down?

Re:Whose Left? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753360)

Yep, and to a rotating observer, the universe stands still ;)

Observation error? (2)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753340)

IANAP, but I guess a single proton spinning with an enormous speed in the opposite direction may null the angular momentum.

Perhaps he just missed that one proton.

Re:Observation error? (1)

bishopBelloc (1751712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754080)

Also, not a physicist, but since things with mass still have a maximum speed I don't think this is a problem.

Re:Observation error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754128)

Protons have only one value of angular momentum, though the orientation can be in any direction. There is only one "speed" at which they spin.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(physics)
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin-%C2%BD
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton

Your basic point, though, is well taken. Non-luminous spinning stuff could easily hang on to some extra angular momentum.

Dumb! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753352)

An object which is spinning counter-clockwise (left-handed) when seen from above, is spinning clockwise (right-handed) when seen from below. And vice versa.

To visualize it, think of your ceiling fan. Or put your bicycle sideways and spin the backwheel slowly.

So what did they find out, really? That our position is either above or below the average position of the other galaxies' plane. And...? Well, we can't all be in the same plane, so we have to be above or below... That's how I figured it out anyway.

Slashdot linking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753364)

I've been a regular visitor to slashdot for years. I usually want to see the main article discussed in the summary but I always have to hunt and peck for it because the linking is always confusing. Am I the only one that feels this way about navigating Slashdot?

Re:Slashdot linking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754188)

Yes you are! You are the -only person on the planet- who feels this way. It's a difficult task, but you've just reached that magical place where you are both unique and special! One of a kind. Congratulations on your newfound position in the universe! Use your hunting and pecking wisely! :-)

Blackholes, Whiteholes and Wormholes... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753408)

There is a growing school of thought that suggests the Big Bang was the "Whitehole" side of a Blackhole forming in our parent universe. If our universe has angular momentum that would correlate to the angular momentum of the collapsing star when it reached singularity. This would be indicative of at least a precipitating event that lead to the Big Bang precipitating our universe.

Unfortunately, there are so many things that determine chirality (handedness) including the angular momentum of super-massive hot hydrogen clouds, galaxy clusters and super clusters, even the angular momentum caused by the gravitational effects of universal superstructures. Its hard to determine what is a result of the natural evolution of the universe and what might be a contributing factor in the for of an angular momentum. One would have to look at a huge sample of the 100,000,000,000 or more galaxies in the visible universe and see if there is a net angular momentum of their collective rotation. However in building such an explicit model of such an important universal trait, the things we would then know or could at least derive about the large and small grain structures in the universe would be nothing less than incredible.

Wait (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753422)

What does "left-handed spin" even mean when there is no "up"?

If we see a galaxy spinning clockwise, then someone looking at it from the other side (facing us) will see it rotating the other way. If they're all spinning the same way when viewed from our perspective, does that also mean we are at the center of the universe?

Re:Wait (1)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753486)

^^ This

There is no "top" or "bottom" of a galaxy - such directions (or positions?) are subjective when you're looking from the outside of a galaxy.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754074)

Guys, look up the concept of "right and left handed coordinate systems". Seriously, get some basic education you ignoramuses!

From what perspective? (1)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753466)

How do you know what side you are looking at (top or bottom) to determine correctly in which direction it is spinning? IS there a top or bottom? I highly doubt it...

I'm a leftie, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753632)

Neta Bahcall is right-handed and jealous...

Because I know something you don't know... (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753656)

The universe only seems left handed. If it ever gets into a sword fight with another universe, it will wait for a dramatically opportune time and then announce, "I am not left handed!" (You'll know this has happened when suddenly you are inside-out.)

why are you smiling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753664)

Because I know something you don't know ...
I am not left-handed.

Still don't get it (1)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753676)

I read the pdf [arxiv.org] linked from the /. link. Despite the fact that the paper is full of technical jargon, I tried to sift through and glean some sense out of it, but I just can't figure out how they can reason that a galaxy has a "left" or "right" spin when such a determination is dependent on the observer's position relative to the galaxy.

Re:Still don't get it (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754326)

I think left and right are arbitrary (as is positive and negative for charge and north and south for magnetism). But if the universe has no net spin you would expect a 1:1 distribution, and they are saying there is a bias.

Fine (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753698)

More evidence that our observable, perceivable universe even to its furthest reaches is not "all there is". You cannot find context for sidedness within a unary axiom.

Put your left hand in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753708)

Moon around the Earth, Earth around the Sun, sun around the galaxy, galaxy around its axis, galaxy clusters rotate?, why not the Universe?

Re:Put your left hand in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754374)

Question is, where is the drain? And where does it drain to? Is the universe really a toilet being flushed? And who or what is doing the flushing? Does it smell bad? :-)

Nope... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753736)

The Universe Might Be Left-Handed?
I think it's just using it's left hand for a different sensation...
cumming soon, new galaxies spurting into existance!

My tongue is a cat's! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753756)

everything else spins in the universe, why wouldn't the universe itself spin?

Explains the lack of gravity? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37753764)

Now won't that negate a bit of gravity and be the source of the cosmological constant?

you are either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753802)

well, you are either a "hefty lefty" or a "mighty righty"; seems like this is also one of the laws of the universe ;)

Political Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753860)

The universe has clearly a political bias.

The universe doesn't have hands to be lefthanded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37753922)

when even the title of an article shows that the topic is just brutilizing language . . . why would we bother to read it?

'left' and 'right' are relative terms. based upon the idea of a front and a badk and a pair of eyes to see them. As the 'universe' doesn't have a 'front' or a 'back' or a pair of eyes to see itself, it can neither be left or right handed.

And, as it seems to me, the universe doesn't have hands either.
no hands, no eyes, no feet, no head, no brain.
To say that the universe has a conservation of angular momentum: that seems to be a more reasonable observation.

The universe is neither 'left' or 'right' handed. By calling the universe 'lefthanded' one is merely being playful with words to put science into more understandible terms. In the case of this headline there is murdering of word 'lefthanded', a word with some many heavy connotations. Calling the uinverse 'lefthanded' is a brutalization of language which belies a deep lack of understanding about the relative nature of matter and energy.

Re:The universe doesn't have hands to be lefthande (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754166)

Left and right handed coordinate systems are very well defined. Also for enantiomorphic compounds left and right handed is well defined. You know *nothing* about physics and just made an ass out of yourself with your pompous posting.

Re:The universe doesn't have hands to be lefthande (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754424)

I already have an ass. It is neither left or right assed.
I know a very lot about physics and understand how Physicists like to usurp language that makes them look like idiots. The fact that you get so upset about it proves my point, doesn't it?

So, it IS an accident? (1)

Genrou (600910) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754018)

"Longo says that the chance that it could be a cosmic accident is something like one in a million.

So, it IS an accident?

Fuck yeah time travel! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37754046)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del_metric

Uh... slashdot won't let me post the correct link to the godel metric.

I've always had a similar theory. (1)

jrh62520 (2487996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754330)

I'm no scientist, but electrons spin around neutrons, moons spin around planets, planets spin around stars, stars spin around black holes, why is it outrageous to thing the galaxies are spinning around something?.. there is stuff out there that humans can't comprehend. If there were more universes revolving around something even larger, we would NEVER know!

On the micro scale (1)

elewton (1743958) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754380)

Does anyone know whether this is likely to have an effect on scales other than the galactic?

For instance, on small chaotic systems.

Obviously (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754386)

It's because of Global Warming! We must immediately shut down all carbon producing operations, or the aliens that NASA is warning us about will come and kill us all for causing all the galaxies to spin in the wrong directions.

Inside a black hole? (1)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37754438)

I have often wondered if the Universe might be the single particle at the center of a black hole, which are always created with a high spin. I understand that this particle takes the shape of a disk due to its rotation, rather than collapsing to a single point. It would explain why galaxies are spreading apart rather than joining together - somehow the stretching of the black hole translates into a 3D effect on the 'inside'. If the black hole were not spinning, I would expect matter in the universe to condense to a black hole, and there would be no 'inside' or 'outside', only a black hole regardless of how you look at it.

To me, this makes sense as energy seems to flow into the patterns of matter - subatomic particles and atoms - like jelly into a mold. There are some hidden rules at play that make matter the way it is, and not some other way. No matter how you convert energy to matter, you end up with it forming these elementary particles. I would expect that to be true for the mass inside of a black hole, in the same way it's true for matter on the outside. The black hole, viewed from the outside, would have the same mass as our Universe.

Unfortunately, I can't think of any way to test this hypothesis, though it might be interesting to the compute the spin of such a black hole, and see if we can correlate it to any phenomenon we can observe.

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