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NASA Space Science

"Dark Flow" Outside Observable Universe 583

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-galactus dept.
DynaSoar writes "NASA astrophysicists have discovered what they claim is something outside the observable universe exerting an effect on the observable. The material is pulling clusters of galaxies towards a region of space known not to contain sufficient matter to create the effect. They can only speculate on what the material is and how space might differ there: 'In these regions, space-time might be very different, and likely doesn't contain stars and galaxies (which only formed because of the particular density pattern of mass in our bubble). It could include giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe. These structures are what researchers suspect are tugging on the galaxy clusters, causing the dark flow.'"
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"Dark Flow" Outside Observable Universe

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  • Great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by incognito84 (903401) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @01:51AM (#25132035)
    Now I feel even smaller than I did yesterday. Good job, science!
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Funny)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:01AM (#25132091)
      Maybe you should get one of those pumps.
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:45AM (#25132325) Homepage

      i think it's kinda cool. the idea that there are even more massive structures out there than what's in our observable universe is really quite mind-boggling. but without stars and galaxies i wonder what kind of emergent structures or phenomena could exist beyond our observable bubble.

      i'm guessing it's probably not possible for biological life to form in such a radically different environment, but then again maybe i just lack the imagination to conceive of such possibilities. it seems like within our observable universe for any biological life to evolve it must follow certain patterns dictated by the laws of physics/chemistry. but if space-time in these regions is so different from our observable universe then who knows? our level of consciousness compared to what exists out there might be like comparing an amoeba with a blue whale. even the time scales experienced by other life forms could be drastically different from ours. entire civilizations could spring forth and flicker out of existence all in the blink of an eye.

      but since we can't even observe what is out there maybe this is all pointless speculation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by foobsr (693224)
        maybe this is all pointless speculation (emphasis mine)

        As pointless as observing something outside the observable universe — thus, there is no need to worry.

        CC.
      • Re:Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @05:14AM (#25133089)

        I would agree that if there is life, it is certainly not life as we know it.

        But IMO the fundamental thing needed for life is an energy flow. Possibly you also need a state of matter corresponding to what we regard as solid i.e. one in which components tend to stay put without needing to expend energy. Given those two components, and enough time, I think that something that we could tentatively call life will emerge, occasionally, anywhere. How long it will take to get past the bacterial level is a much more complex question.

      • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @06:45AM (#25133493) Homepage

        It's contradictory anyway. If we're seeing something influenced by it, then we ARE observing it. That's what observation MEAN.

        If you're "watching" something, you're really interpreting electrical signals generated by your retina in response to chemical reactions triggered by photons, nothing "direct" about it whatsoever.

        So saying we're seeing something being influenced by something outside the observable universe is nonsense.

        • by warrax_666 (144623) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:24AM (#25133689)

          the word "observable". AFAIUI, in this case it means directly observable. Given an expanding universe -- since nothing can travel faster than light (and c is finite) and the universe has a finite age there is a limit to how far you can "see" in any direction from any given vantage point (see "horizon problem"). However, you might still be able to see an object at the very edge of "your" observable universe being influenced by something beyond your particular observation horizon -- that is, you can tell that it is being influenced by something and that it's not being influenced by something inside horizon. So essentially very talking about indirect observation here.

          • by 49152 (690909) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @11:29AM (#25136735)

            That is wrong I am afraid.

            Nothing and that includes information can travel above the speed of light neither directly nor indirectly.

            Yes, it it possible for something at the edge of our observable universe to be affected by something outside our observable universe right now.

            But we do not (and cannot) observe what happens at the edge right now, but rather when light left that place heading in our direction a very long time ago.

            So in effect we are seeing what happened at the edge in the past. This also means that the light from anything capable of affecting that part of the universe at that time would also by now had time to reach us and so we would be able to see it.

            The summary is (as usual) a bit misleading.

            What the article is suggesting is not that something outside the observable universe is affecting something else inside it right now and that we can see the effect but not the cause, but rather that something influenced a part of the universe around the time of the great inflation shortly after the big bang.

            At that time those parts of the universe would have been close enough together that they could have affected each other. The inflation stage which was an extremely fast expansion of time and space itself has since moved some parts (in fact probably most of it) outside our observable universe so we cannot see this part.

            What they see is something having a great speed due to an earlier influence by something we cannot see now, not that it is still being accelerated because that would have been a violation of the speed of light.

            I hope I am not to unclear on this but English is not my first language so I find it a bit hard to explain any clearer.

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:20AM (#25133667) Homepage

      Humans are insignificant for the terms of the universe, but we at least strive to understand it.

      We haven't yet fully understood the universe, and even if we do it's so large that it's hard to fathom the span of it.

      And did the universe really exist before the big bang or was it created by the big bang? How can one prove something that is hypothetical if we don't have something to measure it against?

      Anyway - it is possible that what attracts matter is nothing more than an inert part of matter - or more specific a black hole that currently is invisible because it has consumed all matter near itself a long time ago.

      The Big Bang wasn't a "perfect" explosion, and if it had been we wouldn't have had the distribution of galaxies that we have - it would have been a cloud of gas. And since we haven't had a perfect explosion it is possible that the black hole was created at a very early stage of our universe.

      But who knows in reality?

  • by Centurix (249778) <centurix@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:04AM (#25132105) Homepage

    But I'd say if lots of really big things are being affected, then there could be a bigger thing out there.

    It's a theory I know. I'd like to call it Cen's Big Fucking Thing theory, it's a big ball of stuff, chairs, signs, tanks, gravel and so on, literally sucking the universe dry of interesting stuff. A universal suck, maybe even a multiversal suck mechanism. Either way, I'm pretty sure we'll not see it coming.

  • Flimflammery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaxwellEdison (1368785) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:06AM (#25132119)
    I'm actually pretty excited at this news. Granted, my understanding of astrophysics is limited to Hawking books and guests of George Noory (kidding, kind of). But I look forward to anything that seems to pin down the concept of 'dark matter'.

    Dark matter to me has always smacked of a Victorian Era flimflam artist talking about the aether. And I don't care how dapper Mortimer T. Snerd is dressed, I'm not drinking his dark matter kool-aid until I can get a better explination for it than 'its invisible, supermassive, unobservable, and so totally there'. If you can't explain it to me, the interested layman, you may need to put your theory back in the crucible o' truth. Its probably not done yet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RichiH (749257)

      'Can be understood by an interested layman' is definitely the wrong metric for measuring scientific advancement.

      That being said, the aether & dark matter/energy analogy is something I have been thinking about as well. It _does_ feel like a crutch for current theories. Or someone figures out where this stuff hides in the next 24 hours. Who knows :)

    • Re:Flimflammery (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @07:47AM (#25133841)

      But I look forward to anything that seems to pin down the concept of 'dark matter'.

      This new theory isn't an alternative to dark matter.

      I'm not drinking his dark matter kool-aid until I can get a better explination for it than 'its invisible, supermassive, unobservable, and so totally there'.

      You believe neutrinos exist, right? How hard is it to believe that there's something else like a neutrino out there, but heavier?

      Dark matter-like particles have been predicted for decades. Within the Standard Model, there's the axion which is supposed to solve the strong CP problem in QCD. In the supersymmetric extension of the Standard Model, there is the neutralino. In fact, most theories beyond the Standard Model naturally require some heavy scalar particle which could be a dark matter candidate.

      Modifying gravity doesn't appear to consistently explain all the gravitational behavior we observe. The other alternative is modifying the source of gravity, i.e. there's something out there we can't see for some reason. And that does account for the gravitational behavior we observe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        Modifying gravity doesn't appear to consistently explain all the gravitational behavior we observe.

        In fact, it actually *can't*. Once again, I cite the Bullet Cluster [wikipedia.org] and MACS J0025 [newswise.com] results. As this researcher [umd.edu] put it, "Nevertheless, the most straightforward interpretation is that there is indeed unseen mass.", and "It does add something new, and that is that whatever that mass is, it is not collisional." Incidentally, his position is that CDM is still not the answer, and that the real solution is a combi

  • Smelloscope (Score:4, Funny)

    by SlowMovingTarget (550823) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:07AM (#25132129) Homepage
    Somebody remind Professor Farnsworth not to point the smelloscope at the dark flow. He passed out last time.
  • Gravity Leech (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:08AM (#25132133)
    > NASA astrophysicists have discovered what they claim is something outside the observable universe exerting an effect on the observable.

    The third episode of Brian Greene's "Elegant Universe" documentary miniseries on PBS said that while matter is confined to the known dimensions, its possible that gravity isn't and so can move through dimensions. The example they feel is that we could possibly detect the gravity of 'something' in another Universe by its gravity, even though we could never actually touch it. Wonder if this is it?
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/ [pbs.org]
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:11AM (#25132149) Homepage Journal

    The Dark Matter in US is pulling a ball busting amount of money away from tax payers to Large Banks.
    In this area of Universe known as Capitol Hill and White House, the normal laws of space-time continumm is suspended so that banks which screw up your money get your money to bail out themselves.

  • Hmmmmm.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by paniq (833972)

    I have a bad feeling about this.

  • The plot thickens (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:20AM (#25132193) Homepage
    Suddenly, the predicted "end of the universe" models look a little dusty.
  • bah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500)
    A force you can't detect exerting force?

    The universe is mmuch more complex than the average scientist lets on.

    • Re:bah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MaxwellEdison (1368785) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:26AM (#25132233)
      Don't tell anyone, but when contrasting known information against an infinite cosmos...the average scientist is basically as clueless as the rest of us.
  • Maybe that part of the universe just has accumulated a lot of entropy. Lots of mass, not much in the way of energetic matter.
  • ermmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dexmachina (1341273) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:24AM (#25132213)
    The speed of light is also the maximum speed of causation...if these "super structures" are outside the observable universe, how in the hell are they affecting anything within the observable universe? If they can exert causal influence on these galaxies, and the light from these galaxies has time to reach us... I could be wrong but I feel like someone, somewhere, is seriously contradicting themselves. Maybe those string theorists can tell us if its possible there's cosmic string tied between the galaxies and a giant tug boat in hyperspace...
    • by DerWulf (782458)
      Well, the space between universes or branes or whatever might not be very large or not subject to our puny laws ...
    • Re:ermmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:38AM (#25132295) Journal
      You can't see ships past the YOUR horizon, but those ships could certainly see other ships that you can't see that are beyond YOUR horizon, but not theirs.
      • Re:ermmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dexmachina (1341273) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:52AM (#25132353)
        Yes I know, but we can see the galaxies travelling under the effect of this supposed dark flow. If we can see the galaxies being affected by these superstructures, then the light travelling to us from the galaxies which we now see left after the causal influence reached them, which means the causal influence had time to reach /us/. Which means the super structures aren't in the unobservable universe...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yep you're right, but *I think* they're talking about a different horizon to the one you're thinking of (the summary doesn't make this clear).

          The furthest back we can see is the CMBR, due to the Universe being opaque any earlier on. This opacity creates a horizon at a slightly shorter distance than the horizon you would get due to the fact that light/changes in gravity fields propagate at c.

          The abstract (linked below) mentions that they suspect it is gravitational influences from beyond the CMBR barrier (bu

      • Re:ermmm... (Score:4, Informative)

        by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:01AM (#25132725) Journal

        Yes but by the time those other ships were able to report to you the ships that they see that you can't, you can see those other ships, too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aussie_a (778472)

      My understanding (and I'm most likely 100% wrong) is that imagine the Big Bang didn't create everything in the universe. Instead it just created everything we can see. There exists stuff beyond our eyesight that's existed since before the big bang. We can't see it because light from stars has yet to travel to it, bounce off it and then travel back to us.

      Like everything else in the universe, this invisible matter could still have mass which exerts a force much like stuff does within the visible universe.

      Why

    • Re:ermmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ByteSlicer (735276) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @05:38AM (#25133205)
      At cosmological scales, metric expansion of space [wikipedia.org] becomes very important. Light that left 13.7 billion years ago will actually travel 47 billion lightyears [wikipedia.org] because of metric expansion. Since metric expansion implies space-time is curved (at cosmological scales, locally it is flat, like the earth is flat locally), general relativity comes into play. This means the normal causality described by special relativity is no longer applicable.

      Imagine points A-B-C to be gravitationally bound. Because of metric expansion, space between A-B and B-C expands. This can cause A to move away from C at larger than lightspeed. Since space between B-C only expanded half of A--C, B will be withing light distance from C and thus visible by observers on C. Light from A can reach B, but it will never reach C. By the time it would, space between B and C will have expanded so much that observers from C will no longer see B.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Randym (25779)
      The speed of light is also the maximum speed of causation...if these "super structures" are outside the observable universe, how in the hell are they affecting anything within the observable universe? If they can exert causal influence on these galaxies, and the light from these galaxies has time to reach us... I could be wrong but I feel like someone, somewhere, is seriously contradicting themselves.

      Think of it like this: they *expect* to see a certain red-shift from something at 6 billion light-years:

  • William James Sidis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by solferino (100959) <hazchem@gmEULERail.com minus math_god> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:25AM (#25132231) Homepage

    Reminds me of some writing by William James Sidis [wikipedia.org], published in 1925.

    Our previous consideration on the production of radiant energy from the stars indicates that such production of radiant energy is only possible where the second law of thermodynamics is followed, that is, in a positive section of the universe. In a negative section of the universe the reverse process must take place; namely, space is full of radiant energy, presumably produced in the positive section of space, and the stars use this radiant energy to build up a higher level of heat. All radiant energy in that section of space would tend to be absorbed by the stars, which would thus constitute perfectly black bodies; and very little radiant energy would be produced in that section of space, but would mostly come from beyond the boundary surface. What little radiant energy would be produced in the negative section of space would be pseudo-teleologically directed only towards stars which have enough activity to absorb it, and no radiant energy, or almost none, would actually leave the negative section of space. The peculiarity of the boundary surface between the positive and negative sections of space, then, is, that practically all light that crosses it, crosses it in one direction, namely, from the positive side to the negative side. If we were on the positive side, as seems to be the case, then we could not see beyond such surface, though we might easily have gravitational or other evidence of bodies existing beyond that surface.

    Furthermore, just as in the positive section of space, light is given out uniformly in all directions, so, in the negative section, light must be absorbed by a star equally from all directions. Thus, to any star in the negative section, light must come in about the same amount from all directions; and, since most of this light comes from the positive sections, it follows that the negative sections must be completely surrounded by positive sections and must therefore be finite in all directions. By reversing this (since we have seen that all physical laws are reversible), it follows that any positive section must also be finite in all directions, and be completely surrounded by negative sections. We thus find the universe to be made up of a number of what we may call bricks, alternately positive and negative, all of approximately the same volume; a sort of three-dimensional checkerboard, the positive spaces counting as white (giving out light), and the negative spaces as black (absorbing light).

    Thus what we see is simply the white space that we are in. The surrounding black spaces are invisible, and in addition, absorb the light from the white spaces beyond, so that even those cannot be seen, and, if we judge from the distribution of light in the sky, we get an idea merely of the size and shape of our special white space.

    William James Sidis, The Animate and the Inanimate [sidis.net]

  • by Jazzer_Techie (800432) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:27AM (#25132239)
    There are preprints of the two relevant papers on astro-ph.

    More general version (ApJL)
    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0809.3734 [lanl.gov]

    More technical version (ApJ)
    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/0809.3733 [lanl.gov]
    • by IHateEverybody (75727) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:15AM (#25132817) Homepage Journal

      Either I'm confused or the write up and author of the space.com article are just confusing. Granted, I'm not a physicist but it seems to me that the papers are saying something very different from the write up and the article say. Instead of some mysterious new force from outside the universe, the two papers are based on an analysis of the Cold Dark Matter theory which has been around for some time.

      The article is also confusing when it talks about the "known universe." The Inflationary Theory of the origin of the universe says that early on in its existence, the universe underwent a drastically fast expansion. When physicists talk about the "observable universe," they are referring to the idea that Inflation caused parts of the universe to expand so rapidly that their light cannot reach us in the age of the universe. Now those regions are still part of our universe, we just can't see them because they are "over the horizon" so to speak like a ship on the ocean which disappears from view once it gets so far away from shore that the Earth curves away from our field of vision.

      In fact this last point appears to be the most interesting part of the papers if I understand them correctly. The papers suggest that it is possible to peak over the horizon and get an idea of what the universe looks like beyond the limits of what we can see with our telescopes. Like the mast of a ship peaking out from the edge of the horizon, clusters of galaxies that we could not see otherwise can be detected by carefully measuring the effects of their gravity on regions of the universe that we can see.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ambitwistor (1041236)

        Instead of some mysterious new force from outside the universe, the two papers are based on an analysis of the Cold Dark Matter theory which has been around for some time.

        Read the papers again. The first paper doesn't mention dark matter at all: it's talking about "pre-inflationary remnants" outside our cosmological horizon (observable universe). The second paper is talking about the same thing, although it does mention dark matter (to note that other than the peculiar flow, the matter behaves according to the CDM model).

        Your description of the observable universe is right, but I don't think it conflicts with what the article says. You're also right about the last point:

  • This is the kind of thing that makes me love cosmology. I am really looking forward to the stuff that is going to come out one we have more gravitational observatories online, so we can see both really deep into the universe and also see structures that might otherwise be invisible.
    As opposed to things like the LHC (which is cool, granted), where the best you can hope for is that it finds something different than what they expect by Standard Theory, the field of astrophysics is almost scary in the weirdne
  • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @02:44AM (#25132323)
    It's God
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What NASA really meant to say was, "Shit, we just found something else that does not fit our current model of the universe. Lets just make some stuff up and call it a new discovery"

    Maybe this time people will wake up.....probably not.

    http://bigbangneverhappened.org/ [bigbangneverhappened.org]

  • The Great Attractor [wikipedia.org] is another mistery. Entire galaxies are pulled toward it where there is nothing just empty space.

  • Didn't Star Trek and Babylon 5 deal with this already?

  • I forgot to say..... (Score:5, Informative)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:04AM (#25132413) Journal

    I'd intended to add this to the summary, but forgot.

    TFA has a very nice, if brief, explication on the "universe" vs. "observable universe". Too many people (science and science writing pros among them) make assertions about the former when they should specify the latter.

    Go ahead and read it, it's only a space.com article (ie. very short).

  • by Auckerman (223266) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:09AM (#25132443)

    To paraphrase David Hume: There is no reason to believe that the laws of physics have always been what they are today at all points in space and at all points in time. While it is well within reason, and quite likely, that the Universe follows neat patterns quite specifically, when one runs into really odd data that doesn't fit into your tidy boxes it might be time to rethink things. Dark matter/flow/energy or whatever the new buzzwords scientists come up with are stop gap measures meant to really say, "we haven't the foggiest idea what's going on, but it doesn't quite add up".

  • Does this imply FTL? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Excelcia (906188) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:51AM (#25132661) Homepage Journal
    Ok, here's a question for you. The "observable universe" isn't just the observable universe for us, it is that for the whole universe. Nowhere in the universe that is observable to us can you go and observe beyond 13.7 billion light years. We're all in the same boat. However, in the area of the universe that is being affected by this phenomena, they must be able to observe what is causing it. Elsewise, it couldn't be affecting them. There is nothing that can affect me that is unobservable. You can't be so far away that you are beyond my observation range and yet still affect me, unless you are exerting FTL influence on me. So, if this is truly an influence from beyond the visible universe, then that would seem to me to imply FTL.
  • Super.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xelios (822510) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:26AM (#25132889)
    First we had dark energy, then dark matter, now dark flow. All to try and explain an unexpected effect of something we don't understand. Lets figure out what exactly gravity is and how it really works over large scales, then we can revisit all this "dark" stuff.
  • by CTachyon (412849) <chronosNO@SPAMchronos-tachyon.net> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @05:17AM (#25133097) Homepage

    Let's start with a recap of some statements that are true under current physical theories: (1) space itself is expanding (Hubble Expansion); (2) early in the history of the universe, the expansion of space was faster than the speed of light (Inflationary Big Bang theory); (3) nothing can exceed the speed of light, not even gravity or information (Special and General Relativity); and (4) we are confined our "observable universe": a bubble 92 billion light-years in diameter [wikipedia.org] (General Relativity plus Inflationary Big Bang theory — 13.7 billion light-years, plus inflation, plus 13.7 billion years of Hubble expansion).

    Given these facts, neither gravity nor information from outside our observable universe can enter it.

    Sure, parts of what we currently consider the observable universe might, in their own relativistic timeline, be "currently" experiencing a gravitational tug from parts of the universe that we can't currently observe, even in principle. However, if that is true, then either (a) such observable places will exit our field of observation before we observe that gravitational tug (i.e. the universe will expand faster than light), or (b) such unobservable places exerting a gravitational tug will enter our field of observation before we see the tug on things we can currently see (i.e. the universe will expand slower than light).

    There's no way that information could take a roundabout path to us and arrive faster than information traveling in a straight line (or, more correctly in GR, a geodesic). Think about it: if light/gravity/information cannot travel directly to us, because the direct path is too long and too slow, how could it travel indirectly to us? The indirect path is, by definition, longer and slower than the direct path.

    I suppose that, if a large mass was once observable but now is not (i.e. it tugged on some galaxies, then inflation happened), the theory in the article might make a certain amount of sense. But the timescale of inflation (fractions of a second after the Big Bang) doesn't really leave a lot of time for that to happen. It sounds much more plausible to my ears that either (a) there is a previously-undiscovered conglomeration of dark matter in that direction, but it still lies within our observable bubble; or (b) the galaxies in question are at high velocity but no longer accelerating, indicating leftover momentum from an ejection, collision, or some other high-energy event in the early universe.

    OTOH, I'm no physicist, so maybe I'm missing something, or maybe the actual theory being promoted makes more sense than Space.com's rather awful writeup.

    • by Karma Bandit (1305259) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @08:44AM (#25134345)

      You should read the abstracts of the articles, since it turns out you're right. From the abstract:

      "This flow is difficult to explain by gravitational evolution within the framework of the concordance LCDM model and may be indicative of the tilt exerted across the entire current horizon by far-away pre-inflationary inhomogeneities."

      They would, at least, find it less plausible to describe it with a huge mass of dark matter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ambitwistor (1041236)

      I suppose that, if a large mass was once observable but now is not (i.e. it tugged on some galaxies, then inflation happened), the theory in the article might make a certain amount of sense.

      Yes, that's the idea here: the distant galaxies are still experiencing left-over motion due to a tug from matter long ago, which has by now expanded beyond our ability to see. This is a feature of the accelerating expansion due to inflation. Objects which were once within our causal horizon can be far, far away from it now. All we see is what effects remain from when they were near us.

      But the timescale of inflation (fractions of a second after the Big Bang) doesn't really leave a lot of time for that to happen.

      There was time for objects to gravitationally influence each other, if they were very close. Then they got blown far ap

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