Astronomers have found evidence of a giant void. A giant void that ironically could be the largest known structure in the universe. This supervoid might explain why there is a large and anomalously cold region of the sky.

It stretches so far that it is measured in time, not space.  1.8 billion light years across the sky when universe was 11.1 billion years old. Numbers so large, we can’t grasp their meaning. And yet, this is relatively recent on cosmic timescales.

This “cold spot” can be seen in maps of the Cosmic Microwave Background. That is the radiation left over from the birth of the universe.  You can see this place of nothing, but it is still unexplained. Perhaps it is the imprints of parallel universes.

How wonderful to be a person searching for nothing in a universe full of holes. Voids, devoid of matter and gravitational pull that will take the energy from a particle of light, a photon, and then give it back.

But in our expanding universe, the photon exits into a new medium that is less dense. It can’t make up all the energy it lost and so it is cooler than light from regions on the sky that did not pass through the void.

Mapping the sky, looking  for voids and clusters and discovering time-variable objects, supernovae and gamma ray bursts is probably a life full of data, but it seems rather Romantic to me tonight as I type this and the night slides over my window and makes the letters harder to find.

 


Explore the science of all this at: theconversation.com

 

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