Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Universe is one of many

Some researchers think concentric ring patterns in measurements of the cosmic microwave background are evidence of a universe that existed before our own was born in the Big Bang. 

Credit: Roger Penrose and Vahe Gurzadyan

The evidence in question is said to lie in the haze of microwaves permeating the cosmos that was left over after the Big Bang.

This light, and patterns within it, has granted scientists a picture of the earliest years of the universe.

However, a little over a month ago, a pair of physicists said they found something potentially even more extraordinary in this radiation — giant rings they said could be evidence of a universe that existed before the Big Bang roughly 13.7 billion years ago.

The cosmic microwave background is normally slightly blotchy, showing variations in hot and cold that apparently originate from microscopic fluctuations in the very earliest moments after the Big Bang. Recently, a pair of researchers claimed to have found concentric ring patterns where this radiation is less patchy than normal.

So what are these circles within circles? 
They might be nothing less than the aftermath of collisions of supermassive black holes in a past universe, akin to ripples in a pond, according to calculations from mathematical physicist Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford in England and physicist Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia that appeared online Nov. 16.

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