Scientists discovered the most enigmatic components of modern cosmology, the the cosmic microwave background (CMB) Cold Spot, which lies at the furthest-most reaches of the observable universe.
Found in 2004, this strange space object has been the focus of many hypotheses and theories. Some believe it might be the presence of another universe. Others think it is an instrumental error. In a recent study, astronomers may have discovered strong evidence about the origin of the Cold Spot’s and, according to the the new theory, the multiverse hypothesis is not required.
When the Cold Spot was first discovered by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), scientists rapidly realized that the feature is the greatest structure ever observed in the cosmos. But with just one space telescope taking all the measurements, a fear that something like instrumental error could be responsible.
The European Planck telescope, which was also launched to analyze slight temperature changes in the CMB, also observed the Cold Spot. Despite some beliefs that the space object could be an error which comes up because our statistical analysis methods are flawed, the general hypothesis is that the Cold Spot is real.
One of the most extreme hypotheses that gives an explanation for the Cold Spot is focused around the multiverse. Derived from superstring theory, the multiverse suggests that our universe is just one of a number universes in a soup of universes. The Cold Spot could be one of the neighboring universes which squeezing up against our own.
the multiverse theory is one of the more extreme cosmological thoughts, but there are also other explanations for the Cold Spot. One such idea that now appears to have gained popularity is that of the presence of a “supervoid” in the universe between us and the Cold Spot.
This supervoid is immense, being almost 1.8 billion light-years wide. This vast supervoid is the largest structure ever discovered by humanity.
István Szapudi of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his team have found, through the combination of data collected by Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) telescope from Haleakala, Maui, and NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite, “the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity”. According to the researchers, this structure might be behind the creation of the anomalous Cold Spot.
Image Source: NBC News