The void: Imprint of another universe?
点击量： 时间：2018-01-08 08:02:04
By Marcus Chown IN AUGUST, radio astronomers announced that they had found an enormous hole in the universe. Nearly a billion light years across, the void lies in the constellation Eridanus and has far fewer stars, gas and galaxies than usual. It is bigger than anyone imagined possible and is beyond the present understanding of cosmology. What could cause such a gaping hole? One team of physicists has a breathtaking explanation: “It is the unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own,” says Laura Mersini-Houghton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Standard cosmology cannot explain such a giant cosmic hole It is a staggering claim. If Mersini-Houghton’s team is right, the giant void is the first experimental evidence for another universe. It would also vindicate string theory, our most promising understanding of how the universe works at its most fundamental level. And it would do away with the anthropic arguments that have plagued string theorists in recent years because they say we are the reason the cosmos is the way it is. The hole in the universe is a big deal. The giant void first showed up in maps of the afterglow of the big bang. In 2004, NASA’s WMAP satellite made the most detailed measurements to date of the temperature of the cosmic background radiation. This microwave radiation gains a small amount of energy when it passes through a region of space populated by matter, making it appear slightly warmer in that direction. In contrast, radiation passing through an empty void loses energy,