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Australian Study Backs Major Assumption of Cosmology

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-you've-seen-250-million-light-years-of-it-you've-seen-it-all dept.

Space 94

cylonlover writes "In mankind's attempts to gain some understanding of this marvelous place in which we live, we have slowly come to accept some principles to help guide our search. One such principle is that the Universe, on a large enough scale, is homogeneous, meaning that one part looks pretty much like another. Recent studies by a group of Australian researchers have established that, on sizes greater than about 250 million light years (Mly), the Universe is indeed statistically homogeneous, thereby reinforcing this cosmological principle."

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on smaller scales as well (5, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364027)

Once you've seen one suburban shopping mall, you've seen them all.

Re:on smaller scales as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364145)

Cosmetology is hard! It takes a lot of work to square off those long nails.

They have to dye horse tails, too.

Re:on smaller scales as well (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41366083)

>Once you've seen one suburban shopping mall, you've seen them all.

"If you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall."

Re:on smaller scales as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41375755)

Hmmm, you've never been to Budapest, have you?

Slashdot users are niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364029)

pots frits.

Re:Slashdot users are niggers (-1, Flamebait)

fippo (2695319) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364243)

On the contrary, they are almost certainly more white than the general population. By that I mean, you did not get first post.

Re:Slashdot users are niggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367179)

White men can't FP.

--GNAA

Down under (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364041)

So the laws of physics still hold in Australia at least.

Re:Down under (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364355)

Then how come they've not fallen off? They're upside down after all.

Re:Down under (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364459)

Gravity works backwards down there too, so it pulls them up, which is down.

Re:Down under (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364513)

Hold up a ball. Which side points to the earth? What happens when you drop it? Will it always fall towards the earth? Now, go to Australia. Which side of the ball faces the earth? What happens when you drop it? If you drop the ball, will it fall towards the earth? If so, that's why they haven't fallen off. Now of course, move a larger-than-earth, as-dense-as-earth object near the Earth on the side of Australia and your answer will differ. Of course, the Earth is more likely to be destroyed by gravitational tidal forces due to that before you are able to 'fall off' Australia but at least you'd have your tired old joke. :-P

Re:Down under (2)

wermske (1781984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364911)

[mumbles something about a house falling on grumpy bear] ... gravity!

Re:Down under (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373107)

Hold up a ball. Which side points to the earth? What happens when you drop it? Will it always fall towards the earth? Now, go to Australia. Which side of the ball faces the earth? What happens when you drop it? If you drop the ball, will it fall towards the earth? If so, that's why they haven't fallen off.

Really?

You should really get some sort of Nobel prize for finally solving that particular puzzle.

Re:Down under (1)

meglon (1001833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364821)

Magic fairy dust.

Re:Down under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364951)

Reminds me of an old Bizarro cartoon [blogspot.com] .

Aliens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364053)

So, does that mean there is atleast one Earthlike planet with life on it every 250 million light years? (and, shouldnt that be a unit of volume, not length?)

Aliens? Probably. (1, Offtopic)

Squeebee (719115) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364225)

Aliens who visit us, dismember our cattle and probe us? No.

Extra-solar planets with intelligent life? Probably. Given the sheer size of the universe and the number of solar systems and planets there are quite likely some out there with intelligent life (within range of detection is a different matter). Given enough rolls of the dice you're bound to hit on any given combination more than once.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364311)

More to the point would we recognize intelligent life even if it was in front of our face.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (4, Insightful)

wermske (1781984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364469)

...an argument often made right here on Earth.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365011)

...an argument often, rightly made here on earth.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364537)

More to the point would we recognize intelligent life even if it was in front of our face.

There's a television joke in here somewhere....

Re:Aliens? Probably. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373139)

More to the point would we recognize intelligent life even if it was in front of our face.

There's a television joke in here somewhere....

There's also a slashdot joke, but I'm not sure many people here would appreciate it.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366005)

More to the point would we recognize intelligent life even if it was in front of our face.

Probably not, because it would be too different from us.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41371355)

For example, the boss generally recognises attractive life, rather than intelligent life.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364735)

Aliens who visit us, dismember our cattle and probe us? No.

Extra-solar planets with intelligent life? Probably. Given the sheer size of the universe and the number of solar systems and planets there are quite likely some out there with intelligent life (within range of detection is a different matter). Given enough rolls of the dice you're bound to hit on any given combination more than once.

This pre-supposes that "intelligent life" is a possible result. It may be that much like you can't roll 42 on 2 six sided dice, intelligence is just not possible in this universe. Were that the case, any intelligent life to think you have found is merely an illusion cause by your inadequate intelligence.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (2)

hazah (807503) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365195)

Not sure how this changes the scenario in anyway. We define the word based on our perception, not the other way around.

Re:Aliens? Probably. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373153)

Aliens who visit us, dismember our cattle and probe us? No.

Extra-solar planets with intelligent life? Probably. Given the sheer size of the universe and the number of solar systems and planets there are quite likely some out there with intelligent life (within range of detection is a different matter). Given enough rolls of the dice you're bound to hit on any given combination more than once.

This pre-supposes that "intelligent life" is a possible result. It may be that much like you can't roll 42 on 2 six sided dice, intelligence is just not possible in this universe. Were that the case, any intelligent life to think you have found is merely an illusion cause by your inadequate intelligence.

As has been pointed out many times before, we know with 100% certainty that there is intelligent life in the universe, because we are it.

If the argument is that humans aren't necessarily intelligent on a universe-wide scale, how do you know? What are you comparing us with?

Re:Aliens? (5, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364267)

(and, shouldnt that be a unit of volume, not length?)

When talking in terms of scale, it's generally better to use fundamental units, not derived ones. Volume is derived from length (length^3), so a volume scale is inherently a length scale, but less precise. If you were to use a volume scale, say 250Mly^3, then that could mean different averages looking in different directions (i.e. the universe is homogenous every 250kly looking up, every 10ly looking left, and every 100ly looking forward). Just using a length scale ensures all 3 dimensions are covered equally.

Re:Aliens? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364669)

But is it a cube or a sphere (your description implies sphere but your definition implies cube)? If a sphere, is that a radius or a diameter? There's a reason that we use volume as a dimension......volume doesn't depend on shape.

Re:Aliens? (3, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365033)

There's a reason that we use volume as a dimension......volume doesn't depend on shape.

There's a reason that we don't use volume as a measure of scale - volume doesn't depend on shape. That's my entire point. When you're dealing with scale, it doesn't matter if it's a sphere or a cube, because we're dealing with statistical averages, not defined physical limits. The difference between a sphere and a cube of D=S is dwarfed by the difference between a sphere and a hugely-eccentric ellipsoid of equal volumes. The point is homeogeneity. We want to be clear that the average pointing one direction is the same as the average pointing another direction. You can't do that with volume.

Re:Aliens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41365237)

It's neither!
It's much more likely a torus or peanut. Maybe even a giant broom!

It's a hidden message! (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365073)

No, it just implies that you have to go 250MLY that way.

Re:Aliens? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365221)

i.e. the universe is homogenous every 250kly looking up, every 10ly looking left, and every 100ly looking forward

That doesn't sound very homogeneous.

(Yes I get what you're saying and agree. It just sounded funny)

Re:Aliens? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364291)

There is also the factor we don't know how many earth like planets with life exist in our 250 million light year rage. You are assuming that there is only 1.

Re:Aliens? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364567)

Or.....assuming there is AT LEAST 1 (slight difference in mindset).

Re:Aliens? (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364297)

So, does that mean there is atleast one Earthlike planet with life on it every 250 million light years?

No. Statistics don't work that way. It might mean there is, on average, one Earthlike planet per given volume of space, but certainly no "at least" guarantee, and indeed if the average is that low, there will be many instances of zero in said volume.

Re:Aliens? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364375)

Statistically speaking, isn't the universe empty?

Re:Aliens? (1)

wermske (1781984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364851)

Statistically speaking, isn't the universe empty?

Given that particles and anti-particles are continually being "produced" by quantum effects out of (seemingly) nothingness and disappearing only moments later, and given that we understand that we observe an enormous gap in measurable (luminous vs. non-luminous matter) mass in the universe, and add to this the potential category of supersymmetric particles, a powerful argument could be made that space is quite cluttered, if not densely packed.

INAS - perhaps an wizard from Fermilab or Hogwarts can flesh out a better answer.

Re:Aliens? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365099)

42

Re:Aliens? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364965)

No. Well, probably not. That's one problem in cosmology that goes back a few hundred years (at least to the time of Netwon through Einstein). Not sure what the current theory states about it.

Re:Aliens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364305)

Not necessarily. On a scale of 250mil light years, a planet like earth is pretty insignificant. On a beach full of sand, adding one grain of sand with a unique color doesn't change the fact that every stretch of a dozen yards or so looks like every other stretch.

(Not to say that we're definitely unique or anything. Or that we aren't. Or anything, really.)

Re:Aliens? (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364369)

Define "Earthlike." Certainly, for example, there are other terrestrial planets in the universe. There are probably even some with a similar mass to ours, at a similar orbital distance from a similar star. But this still doesn't account for, for example, when in their history such planets might be. Life might not have begun on all of them, or it might have already ended, or what life exists might not have reached the state of relative advancement we enjoy today.

Bottom line: yes, there are probably planets which share some similarities to Earth, but if you're looking for aliens the odds are still much dimmer.

Re:Aliens? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364411)

They're already here. Under your grounds. Up in yer caves.

And they call themselves the Earthlings.

Join the fight against the greys and reptiliods today! Don't believe them when they say they created you in a test tube or that they're the good guys. They're after our natural metaphysical abilities. Kill them at first site.

Re:Aliens? (3, Interesting)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364813)

For scale:

Milky way diameter ~ 0.11 Mly,

Local Group (Milky way, Andromeda, etc...) diameter ~ 10 Mly,

Virgo Supercluster diameter ~ 100 Mly.

The existence of superclusters is part of why local homogeneity is not observed. However, the claim is only that any given region of about 250 Mly is on average about the same as any other region of the same size. So, even if that homogeneity holds true as you reduce scale (i.e. look for an average Earth) there's still a huge difference in thinking that you've got AC posters on alt-Earth asking about their alt-Australian universe homogeneity study. Besides, the frequency of Earth like planets should be signnificantly higher within our own statistically homogeneous region, but we still haven't had cookies dropped off from our older-to-the-hood neighbors. Check out the Fermi Paradox [wikipedia.org] for fun reading.

Actually - there's some discussion to having been visited in prehistory and early history earth, but that's a subject for an alt. and not an alt-

;)

Re:Aliens? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364839)

No, because this universe was generated before Mojang tweaked the chunk-creation code to stop producing so many life-supporting worlds.

Goddamn nerfs...

Re:Aliens? (1)

wermske (1781984) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365021)

LOL.. that speaks to a very select audience. [clap] Well played.

Re:Aliens? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366675)

This doesn't change much. As mentioned, this is a pretty fundamental assumption. What this assumption gets you is that if you go big enough, all of the differences in mass distribution smooth out and everywhere is just like everywhere else. There will be a "typical" cluster of galaxies that "most" are "pretty close" to. And within such a typical cluster you can talk of a "typical" galaxy, and a "typical" star within that galaxy. But are we a typical planet in a typical solar system in a typical galaxy in a typical local cluster in a typical supercluster? Unknown ;)

What's more important is how common solar systems with terrestrial and gas giant planets are. If there are rocky planets, it's thought that more or less they will turn out the same at the same distance from the sun, (scaled by the sun's intensity of course), and depending on their mass for how well they can hold onto an atmosphere. (And of course that's wishy washy, it's argued whether or not Mars would be earth-like at our distance, if it would still have been too small to hold onto an atmosphere long-term, and if the a large moon is necessary to keep the magnetic field rolling). More or less the distance and primary's luminosity will determine atmospheric temperature, and that will determine the rate of out-gassing, and you'll get all kinds of feedback, and either end up with a Venus, Earth, or Mars depending on how the atmospheric pressure and temperature equilibriums end up balanced. There doesn't appear to be a HUGE amount of variance in elemental abundance between solar systems, except according to their age. (Even that is more of a quick rule of thumb than a hard curve). This of course isn't settled by any means. Then you have things that are less settled. How important is a moon to things? Some say our magnetic field would be gone by now without the tidal forces of the moon keeping the core etc. churning away. Others say that's silly, but it might be a bit weaker by now. Then you have to figure out how much water and such we got from bombardment by comets flung out of orbit by gas giants. How many and how large of gas giants do you need to typically get that effect? Is it even strictly necessary, or just handy? Would we have still ended up Earth-like (with much smaller oceans perhaps?) without Late Heavy Bombardment? Or would we have frozen solid without the greenhouse effect of all that water? Or did most of our water come from within anyway so at most we would just have slightly smaller oceans and slightly lower temperature? If gas giants are needed, we at least have spotted those all over the place. (In fact we've spotted them around stars we thought shouldn't have any!)

None of that is really helped or hindered by the homogeneity of the entire universe. If we can get the telescope resolution to make fair estimates on the likelihood of earth-like planets (for some definition of that term) throughout the Milky Way, then we can maybe look at nearby galaxies and guestimate how likely those stars are to be like our own stars...and from there if we can eventually look far enough we can say "OK well by homogeneity most galaxies are probably pretty close to this, so maybe earth-like planets are around about this common...ish".

Sounds a lot like Southern California (3, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364059)

Well, except for San Bernardino.

huge scale (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364109)

If anyone is trying to visualize that scale, it might be more convenient to consider that 250 million light years is simply 4.70279985 × 10^23 rods

Re:huge scale (2)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364195)

Yes, but how many LoC's is it?

Re:huge scale (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366699)

But some ethnic groups have shorter rods.

No matter where you go... (0)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364211)

there you are.

I knew it... (2)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364271)

A good foundation will cover those blemishes and make the subsequent layers easier to apply.

Er... only two words in... (-1, Offtopic)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364345)

From TFA:

"In mankind's attempts to gain some understanding of this marvelous place in which we live,..."

Hey Brian... the 1950s are deservedly over. Stick an "hu" at the beginning and you won't alienate half your readers.

(From one guy to another before you get in trouble over it.)

Re:Er... only two words in... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364399)

From TFA:

"In mankind's attempts to gain some understanding of this marvelous place in which we live,..."

Hey Brian... the 1950s are deservedly over. Stick an "hu" at the beginning and you won't alienate half your readers.

(From one guy to another before you get in trouble over it.)

I think you got that wrong. Apart from a few pockets of miserable hags, the last of the misandrists-who-claim-to-be-feminists gave it a rest in the early 2000s. I know, I know, some are trying to keep the spirit alive, but once you realize most of them are just chill nowadays, things will get far better.

Re:Er... only two words in... (0)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364591)

Wow.. modded troll for mentioning this.
I wonder what the response would have been if he started the article with "In white people's attempts to gain some understanding..." Would I have been a troll then for pointing out that it might disrespect some of the readers to assume that they don't have the intelligence or initiative to want to want to understand the cosmos?
For a supposedly intelligent and educated community, there are still a few prejudices that are easily exposed. And then some will wonder why there still are women who are pissed off, and there are proportionally few of them in the sciences (and IT.)

Re:Er... only two words in... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41365177)

Mankind does not mean only the male half of the species, but means the entire human species. Occasionally people have used it too literally to mean the former, but it is pretty clear from context. I think it is more insulting to reader's intelligence to assume they can't clearly see that. Both figurative and literally "white people" does not refer to all people, it is not a valid comparison.

Re:Er... only two words in... (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365581)

Notice how you're the only one going on about this? Perhaps you're the only one percieving an insult that simply isn't there? Or are you simply not aware of your audience?

Re:Er... only two words in... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367313)

Well, 90% chance you are in fact trolling, but just in case: white knighting like you're doing right now is the worst form of discrimination against women. Women are perfectly capable of standing up for themselves if they are offended. They are not weak, fragile flowers who need you to rise to their defense, and you insult them by doing so.

Re:Er... only two words in... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373211)

Well, 90% chance you are in fact trolling, but just in case: white knighting like you're doing right now is the worst form of discrimination against women. Women are perfectly capable of standing up for themselves if they are offended. They are not weak, fragile flowers who need you to rise to their defense, and you insult them by doing so.

Yeah, but if the OP hadn't said he was male, all the slashtards would have assumed it was a woman and started with the "show us your tits" comments.

Re:Er... only two words in... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378557)

I have never once seen that on /.. This is not /b/, this is not digg, and those are not tech sites (even by the stretch that /. is one).

Visualizing The Scale (5, Interesting)

cb123 (1530513) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364427)

Most comments seem to be vying for most funny, but if you do happen to care about visualizing the scale, the distance to our closest full-sized galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 Mly. That is 1% of the homogeneity scale cited by the article. So, they are saying that things seem smooth averaged over scales merely 100 times bigger than the distance to the nearest extra-galactic clump which is sized comparably to The Milky Way. That's actually pretty smooth, in context.

Re:Visualizing The Scale (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365137)

It's pretty far also :-(

Re:Visualizing The Scale (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365305)

You think that's far? You should see how far it is to the chemist.

Re:Visualizing The Scale (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370329)

Excellent Douglas Adams reference.

Re:Visualizing The Scale (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#41373235)

Excellent Douglas Adams reference.

Which was quoted at the top of TFA.

I know, I know...

the idea that it loops and we see old stuff-- (2)

kisrael (134664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364439)

So, isn't there a concept that the Universe is closed, and we're just seeing older versions of the same stuff, but kinda repeated? (but hard to recognize because of the time lag involved)

Is this still considered a possibility, or have they figured out a way of ruling that out?

Re:the idea that it loops and we see old stuff-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41365235)

Only if it collapses, but if it collapses infintely perhaps it is actually open.

Re:the idea that it loops and we see old stuff-- (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366647)

Good, it's not too late to kill Lady Gaga's great grandparents.

Re:the idea that it loops and we see old stuff-- (3, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367363)

It was pretty much ruled out by the cosmic background microwave radiation surveys. Because that's a point-in-time snapshot of the universe, seeing the same stuff repeated in layers would really stand out. The visible universe is a subset of the universe.

And the universes' population: (3, Funny)

snarfies (115214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364635)

None. Although you might see people from time to time, they are most likely products of your imagination. Simple mathematics tells us that the population of the Universe must be zero. Why? Well given that the volume of the universe is infinite there must be an infinite number of worlds. But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are. Any finite number divided by infinity is as close to zero as makes no odds, therefore we can round the average population of the Universe to zero, and so the total population must be zero.

Re:And the universes' population: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41364981)

But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are.

Blatently false. What if half are populated? A third? Five sevenths? All except one? Only the worlds which, when arranged in increasing order of density, can be labelled with a prime number?

Re:And the universes' population: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41365435)

therefore only a finite number are

That does not follow. In fact, if the universe were infinite, it would be quite difficult to argue there would be a finite amount of anything.

therefore we can round the average population of the Universe to zero

Even if we ignore the previous logical gap, you basically create your own problem here, in a sense begging the question. Why round? Mathematics has created tools to deal with such situations, like almose nowhere [wikipedia.org] . If you rounded, you would also get that there are no integers, because for every integer that are an infinite number of non-integer real numbers you could map to it. The probability of picking a random real number and getting an integer (or even rational number) is zero, but this is not to say integers do not exist. Probabilities involving infinite sets requires a bit more nuance.

Re:And the universes' population: (2)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366453)

He's quoting the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. So it's not his logical gap or his own problem. It belongs to Douglas Adams.

Re:And the universes' population: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41373973)

It has been too long since I've read his works and I forgot about this bit. When looking at it, I mostly remember the dozen or so people I've dealt with over the last few years that tried to use it as a serious argument, regardless of source. And not via easy to misinterpret text on the internet... mostly philosophy majors thinking they've disproved math or physics and wanting to show off at parties or in the middle of class...

Re:And the universes' population: (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365567)

If you assume the universe is infinite than an infinite number of worlds are populated..

Re:And the universes' population: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41370315)

If I hadn't already posted I would mod this insightful or funny or something. Really, we need a +1 Quotalicious.

It's homogeneous... (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#41364649)

...but is it pasteurized?

Re:It's homogeneous... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366043)

In fact it's been ultra-super-duper-insanely pasteurized, though what with it been sitting around for a few billion years since then I think life may have crept in.

Re:It's homogeneous... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#41366793)

...but is it pasteurized?

I shall continue to milk this joke-line until the cows come home, or until everyone grows sour to it and they start carton us away.

Re:It's homogeneous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368209)

If you carry on like that, I'll s-cream! Please find anudder joke!

Self Portrait? (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365355)

Can this tell us something about the shape of space? The fabric of space could form a loop such as a sphere. Think of the arcade game Asteroids. I have wondered if the Hubble deep field images are something like a self portrait photo shot in a very large house of mirrors. The loop is so big, in fact, that we are seeing our own galaxy and all others repeated at intervals of time in the past. The minimum homogeneous volume would also place a lower limit on the size of the loop.

Re:Self Portrait? (2)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367405)

We know that's not the case from the cosmic background microwave radiation surveys. Repeated patterns would had really stood out statisically, but that's not what we see.

Re:Self Portrait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41375897)

Would that be so with inflation? I.e. "exiting" my asteroids screen on the right hand side at one point in time takes me back into the screen fom the left at one position, but because the screen is constantly expanding the next exit / entry pair would be quite different. Hence no repeating patterns in the CMB?

Re:Self Portrait? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378597)

The CMBR is a snapshot of the universe at a point in time long after "inflation" (if inflation even happened, that's still speculative). Normal expansion of the universe is easily adjusted for.

2 Mly? (2)

Strykar (1161463) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365477)

How far out around us have we really seen/studied? 250 Mly seems a large area.

This research is false. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41365549)

Until the Billion light-year across VOID is explained, this article makes no sense! http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12546-biggest-void-in-space-is-1-billion-light-years-across.html

Re:This research is false. (2)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 2 years ago | (#41369903)

Dear AC, the fact that with an infinite number of coin tosses you should tend to average tails half the time? It in no way prevents you from rolling heads several times in a row - or a billion times, for that matter.

The gizmag article is about statistical homogeneity while the newscientist article is about an empirical anomaly. The two are quite compatible in that respect.

It should also be mentioned that the fine article mentions the study is ongoing and has only mapped less than 1% of the observable universe, so it's perhaps a tad hasty to leap to any conclusions just yet: "Further work is clearly required to fully pin down this result. In the future researchers will cover more of the sky at larger distances, and thereby reach a final resolution of the validity of the Cosmological principle. But this study is the first serious step toward that resolution."

...for the obsrvable universe only (3, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#41365827)

It's still an assumption. If the universe is infinite, then this observation says nothing about the non-observable universe. Any statements about the non-observable portions are purely assumptions.

Re:...for the obsrvable universe only (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 2 years ago | (#41372443)

If the universe is infinite, then this observation says nothing about the non-observable universe. Any statements about the non-observable portions are purely assumptions.

Of course, the thing about the non-observable universe is that as far as we care it might as well not exist.

Re:...for the obsrvable universe only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41374095)

In cosmology, astronomy, and several other fields, the word "universe" is defined to mean "observable universe" 99% of the time. Typically such research and statements wouldn't make sense otherwise, and it seems rather needless to state "observable" every time.

Really glad about that (1)

hughbar (579555) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367095)

I used to spend quite a lot of time worrying that I'd go 250 million light years north and it would be quite different. Now that I know this I'm much happier to go.

And the Australian Government (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#41370295)

Immediately moves to ban all Australians from reading about this subversive cosmology business....
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