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How can 200,000 galaxies point the same way?

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | about 7 years ago

Space 1

KentuckyFC writes "Does the universe have a preferred direction — an axis of evil as some astrophyscists have called it? It certainly looks that way with the publication today of a survey of 200,000 elliptical galaxies that indicates they are all aligned in the same direction. What's more, this axis is the same as the controversial alignment found in the cosmic microwave background by the WMAP spacecraft"
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Understand the Article! (2, Informative)

Unagiflum (1149853) | about 7 years ago | (#20414001)

The article does not state that all of the galaxies point in the same direction. The research does not even measure the axis of a single galaxy. It uses the mean eccentricity of the galaxy's discs (as seen from Earth) to determine that there must be a preferred orientation because the average apparent eccentricity varies from one part of the sky to another. Where we are looking toward the axis of alignment, the galaxies average apparent eccentricity is lower, and where we look perpendicular to the axis, the apparent eccentricity is higher. The correlation is not very large, so any randomly selected galaxy might point anywhere. The average of all the axes does point in a particular direction. The chance of this axis being random data noise is small, but it does not mean that all of these galaxies are aligned.
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