• Follow us


The Mystery of Cosmic Cold Spots Just Got Even Weirder - D-brief

map showing blue and red specklesRecent analysis of Planck data upholds mysteries that have existed since the spacecraft’s first results in 2013. (Credit: ESA/Planck Collaboration)

During its time in orbit, the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft gave humanity the most sophisticated measurements ever made of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the first flash of light that rippled across the universe after the Big Bang. Plank told us the shape of the universe and confirmed crucial components of the Big Bang as it collected data between 2009 and 2013. It did all that by measuring the intensity of the CMB across the sky. And since then astronomers have kept putting out new maps of the cosmos as they mine data and discover new ways to tease out secrets.

While Planck’s measurements in large part confirmed physicists’ understanding of the universe, some of the most interesting things Planck discovered were the unexpected details. For one, the universe seems divided into two hemispheres, one hot and one cold. And the hot hemisphere also contains a stark cold spot. Neither of these details were predicted, and shouldn’t in fact exist, according to the so-called standard cosmological model, which otherwise well describes the universe as viewed by Planck. The third surprise is the very slight way Planck’s measurements stray from the standard model, only at large scales. While earlier spacecraft had hinted at all these issues, Planck confirmed them for scientists, bringing into high resolution a problem many researchers had hoped would instead fade away with increased precision.

Now, scientists have compared Planck’s map of those temperature anomalies – where space itself is just slightly warmer or cooler than the average of just above absolute zero – to a map of the sky’s polarization. This second map holds a record of how the light scattered across the sky just 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Researchers hoped the polarization map could answer questions about the meaning of the anomalies they’d been watching in the temperature maps by either strongly echoing them or not showing them at all. But the polarization map shows either no or faint evidence of the anomalies, leaving scientists still wondering – are the signals saying something important about the makeup of our universe? Or are they merely random fluctuations in space, signifying nothing at all?

Mapping Cosmic Differences

In the temperature maps, researchers had noted suspicious anomalies that show up at large scales – some 10 times bigger than the full moon on the sky. These temperature variations don’t match with standard explanations of the universe’s physics as we know it. Scientists have also proven that the features are not due to observing quirks of their telescope. They are, however, just faint enough that these cold spots could possibly be random – while also being just strong enough that scientists can’t quite ignore them.

Their appearance hints that something about the standard cosmological model isn’t quite right.

Because the polarization map is a largely independent measurement of the sky (though taken with the same spacecraft), scientists hoped it could shed light on whether the anomalies were a true signal of something previously unknown about the universe, or simply a random fluctuation.

Unfortunately, when they compared the most advanced maps that Planck has produced, they found only faint evidence of the anomalies. That is, the spots appear, but not in a statistically significant way. Researchers from across the Planck Collaboration published their results in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics on Thursday.

This leaves scientists stuck with two possibilities. The first is that the anomalies are simply flukes of statistics – stronger than suggested by physics, but still just random, the way coin flips don’t always turn up exactly 50/50, even after 1,000 tries.

The other possibility is some kind of new physics not currently explained by the standard model. That option is less likely now, given the polarization maps didn’t show the anomalies very clearly. But they do show faint signs of the signals, and because scientists don’t know what this new physics might be, there’s no way for them to know if it should show up in both polarization and temperature maps.

plotThe anomalies in the cosmic microwave background have been, and remain, a thorn in the side of the standard cosmological model. The standard model encompasses the area in green, while Planck’s data appears as red points with error bars. For small scales (the right side of the graph) the two match quite well, while there is less agreement – but also more uncertainty – at large scales. (Credit: ESA/Planck Collaboration)

Planck isn’t taking new data, and scientists have probably produced the most detailed maps they can from the available information. While clever ideas might yet emerge, solving this mystery with new information will likely have to wait another decade or more, until a new generation of CMB-spying spacecraft take to the skies.

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News

All DiscoverMagazine.com

Incredible Rock-Eating Shipworm Is First Of Its Kind 2019-06-18 19:01:46A section of limestone riddled with burrows bored by a unique rock-eating shipworm. (Credit: Shipway et al 2019, Proc. R. Soc. B 20190434. http://dx.d

Honeybees Know What 3 Means (and 2, and 2019-06-18 19:01:22One honeybee, ah ah ah... (Credit: yod67/Shutterstock) Humans, monkeys, pigeons, fish and honeybees can all grasp the concept of a greate

Scientists Read the Sun’s History in Moon Rocks 2019-06-18 17:59:11Solar flares and coronal mass ejections were more common when the sun was younger, but it may still have been quieter than many other stars like it. (

Humans Are Probably Behind the Evolution of 'Puppy 2019-06-18 17:53:05Dogs likely evolved the gesture in response to human pressure. (Credit: Fotyma/Shutterstock) You know that look Fido gives you from underneath the

Understanding Microsleep — When Our Minds Are Both 2019-06-18 15:33:58Seconds-long periods of sleep, known as "microsleep," are common during mundane tasks like driving. While these unintended brain naps can be difficu

Fossil Find Is First Evidence Of Arctic Hyenas 2019-06-18 06:00:16An artist’s rendering of ancient Arctic hyenas belonging to the genus Chasmaporthetes, now known to have roamed Canada's Yukon Territory. (Cred

It's Pollinator Week and we're all a-buzzzz! 2019-06-17 21:52:05This is a perfect week to make and share your pollinator observations with scientists. Our editors selected five projects in need of your help. Mor

Researchers Discover Urban Problems Plagued Even the Earliest 2019-06-17 19:01:43Excavations at Çatalhöyük. (Credit: NiglaNik/Shutterstock) In the mid-1960s, an English archaeologist discovered an enormous and a

Researchers Find Earliest Example of Merging Galaxies 2019-06-17 18:17:29An artist rendered their own view of what the merging galaxies might look like. (Credit: NAOJ) Thirteen billion years ago, two galaxies collided to

Closing In On a Non-sugar Sweetener — One 2019-06-17 18:14:38(Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock) The first time someone synthesized saccharin, the artificial sweetener in Sweet’N Low, it was an accident.

SNAPSHOT: How Sediment Layers Reveal Earth's Ancient Climate 2019-06-17 18:11:49Colorized elevation map of a lakebed in New Jersey shows stripes of ancient sediment deposits. The deposits are tied to cycles of wet and dry climates

The globe just experienced its second warmest March 2019-06-17 15:11:54Overall, the global mean temperature during March through May was 1.02 °C warmer than the 1951-1980 average. This made it the second warmest such

Breaking Science News |

Cassini Team Delivers New Findings on Saturn’s Ring 2019-06-17 11:26:48Although NASA’s Cassini mission ended in 2017, science continues to flow from the data collected. In a series of papers in the journal Science,

Hubble Space Telescope Sees IC 10 2019-06-17 07:34:23The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking new photo of the irregular galaxy IC 10. IC 10 is a member of the Local Group, a collectio

Almond Genome Sequenced 2019-06-17 04:45:21The domesticated almond tree (Prunus amygdalus) has been feeding humans for millennia. Derivation from the wild, bitter, and toxic almond required los

Study: Bottlenose Dolphins Form Friendships through Shared Interests 2019-06-14 15:16:47According to new research, published in the published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) l

Is Consciousness a Fundamental Quality of the Universe? 2019-06-14 13:45:34Scientists have long been trying to understand human consciousness — the subjective ‘stuff’ of thoughts and sensations inside our mi

Giant Cambrian Trilobite Species Unearthed in Australia 2019-06-14 11:11:40Paleontologists have unearthed fossils of a giant trilobite species that inhabited Australian waters approximately 500 million years ago (Cambrian per

Dwarf Starburst Galaxy Harbors Supermassive Black Hole 2019-06-14 08:48:40A starburst galaxy called ESO 495-21 is just 3,000 light-years across, but it harbors a black hole of about one million solar masses at its core.

Vitamin K Involved in Disablement Process in Older 2019-06-14 06:59:41Reduced levels of circulating vitamin K are linked to an increased risk of mobility limitation and disability in older adults, according to a study pu

30,000-Year-Old Head of Pleistocene Wolf Found in Siberian 2019-06-13 15:09:03A perfectly preserved head of a large wolf has been unearthed from the melting permafrost in eastern Siberia. The head of an adult wolf was found near

Dark Monopoles: Theoretical Physicists Propose New Candidate for 2019-06-13 10:36:39Professor John Terning and Dr. Christopher Verhaaren from the University of California, Davis, have a new candidate for dark matter — a dark mon

Hubble Spots Sodium Chloride on Jupiter’s Moon Europa 2019-06-13 08:21:05Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the yellow color visible on portions of the surface of Europa, the second G

Scientists Sequence Spider Glue Genes 2019-06-13 07:07:24Researchers have published the first-ever complete sequences of two genes that allow spiders to produce glue, a modified version of silk that keeps a

Latest Headlines | Science

Norovirus close-ups might help fight stomach flu 2019-06-17 10:00:10Detailed views of a common stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea could aid vaccine and disinfectant development.

Diamond detectors could aid the search for dark 2019-06-17 08:00:15Elusive dark matter particles could be spotted when they slam into electrons or atomic nuclei within diamond, scientists say.

Is a long-dormant Russian volcano waking up? It’s 2019-06-17 06:00:17Scientists debate how to interpret seismic activity near Bolshaya Udina on the remote Kamchatka Peninsula.

Table salt may be hiding in Europa’s underground 2019-06-14 11:02:04Observations of Europa by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the moon’s ice-covered ocean may hold sodium chloride, or common table salt.

Many of the world’s rivers are flush with 2019-06-14 09:00:40Antibiotic pollution can fuel drug resistance in microbes. A global survey of rivers finds unsafe levels of antibiotics in 16 percent of sites.

Massive superflares have been seen erupting from stars 2019-06-14 07:00:19Older stars, like the sun, can still send out massive bursts of energy that can be seen from light-years away.

When fighting lice, focus on kids’ heads, not 2019-06-13 08:00:22Learning a little about lice makes for a more efficient battle against the bugs.

Some Canadian lakes still store DDT in their 2019-06-13 06:01:52Yesterday’s DDT pollution crisis is still today’s problem in some of Canada’s lakes.

The National Weather Service has launched its new 2019-06-12 15:11:18The United States has finally unveiled its new, highly touted weather prediction model, but some scientists worry that it’s not ready for prime

People may have smoked marijuana in rituals 2,500 2019-06-12 14:01:48Cannabis may have been altering minds at an ancient high-altitude cemetery, researchers say

Bats beat out dogs as the main cause 2019-06-12 13:14:37In the United States, bats are mostly to blame for rabies deaths, while rabies transmitted by overseas dogs comes in second.

Astronomers may have spotted the ghost galaxy that 2019-06-12 12:00:04Astronomers think they’ve identified a galaxy that hit the Milky Way and ruffled its edges millions of years ago.

Latest Science News --

Good physical fitness in middle age linked to 2019-06-18 19:20:32Good heart and lung (cardiorespiratory) fitness in middle age is associated with a lower long term risk of chronic lung disease (COPD), suggests new r

One day of employment a week is all 2019-06-18 19:20:30Latest research finds up to eight hours of paid work a week significantly boosts mental health and life satisfaction. However, researchers found littl

Yogurt may help to lower pre-cancerous bowel growth 2019-06-18 19:20:27Eating two or more weekly servings of yogurt may help to lower the risk of developing the abnormal growths (adenomas) which precede the development of

Record-low fertility rates linked to decline in stable 2019-06-18 17:44:02New research identifies a link between the long-term decline in manufacturing jobs -- accelerated during the Great Recession -- and reduced fertility

Microfluidics device captures circulating cancer cell clusters 2019-06-18 17:44:00About 90% of cancer deaths are due to metastases, when tumors spread to other vital organs, and a research group recently realized that it's not indi

Cell structure linked to longevity of slow-growing Ponderosa 2019-06-18 17:43:58Slow-growing ponderosa pines may have a better chance of surviving longer than fast-growing ones, especially as climate change increases the frequency

Appearance of deep-sea fish does not signal upcoming 2019-06-18 17:43:56The unusual appearance of deep-sea fish like the oarfish or slender ribbonfish in Japanese shallow waters does not mean that an earthquake is about to

Cool halo gas caught spinning like galactic disks 2019-06-18 17:43:54Astronomers have discovered cool halo gas spinning in the same direction as galactic disks in typical star-forming galaxies. Their findings suggest th

Quantum music to my ears 2019-06-18 17:43:52Researchers have applied new atomic-sensing capabilities to detect and record music.

Marijuana use increases, shifts away from illegal market 2019-06-18 17:43:49A new article reports that, based on analysis of public wastewater samples in at least one Western Washington population center, cannabis use both inc

Wearable device reveals how seals prepare for diving 2019-06-18 17:43:47A wearable noninvasive device based on near-infrared spectroscopy can be used to investigate blood volume and oxygenation patterns in freely diving ma

Sea otters have low genetic diversity like other 2019-06-18 17:43:45Sea otters have very low genetic diversity, scientists report. Their findings have implications for the conservation of rare and endangered species, i

Science - The Huffington

Doctors Remove 10-Inch Knife From Teenager's Brain 2019-06-17 17:59:15Eli Gregg's mom says he's promised to “stay away from sharp objects.”

Democratic Voters Overwhelmingly Support Hosting A Climate Debate, 2019-06-17 14:43:55Among registered voters, 41% want a climate-only debate. Among Democrats, that number surges to 64%.

Charlie Jane Anders Crosses The Divide 2019-06-17 00:01:24Can humans learn to listen to the outsiders, the marginalized communities, the downtrodden? This sci-fi author thinks it may be our planet’s bes

3 Times As Many Dolphins As Usual Have 2019-06-15 10:43:35About 98 percent of the stranded dolphins have died.

'Star Trek' Starfleet Logo Makes Appearance In New 2019-06-15 10:32:43William Shatner and “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill are among those who boldly weighed in on the discovery.

EPA Air Chief Gave Presentation At Fringe Climate 2019-06-14 16:36:15Bill Wehrum, a former corporate lawyer, joined three other EPA officials at a Cooler Heads Coalition gathering last year.

Forget Colonizing Mars. We Can All Move To 2019-06-14 13:39:31Condos in Siberia?

Meet Denver Zoo's Same-Sex Flamingo Couple, Freddie Mercury 2019-06-14 12:45:11The two birds have been "paired up for several years" and can act as surrogate parents, officials say.

Prehistoric Wolf's Head Found Perfectly Preserved In Siberia 2019-06-13 13:08:26A cave lion cub and a massive mammoth's foot also were recently found in melting permafrost.

Washington D.C. Renames Street Outside NASA Headquarters 'Hidden 2019-06-13 11:06:54The designation honors Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, the trailblazing black women depicted in the book and movie “Hidden

Scientists Create A New Guide For Saving Corals 2019-06-12 13:01:01A new report outlines a framework to help world leaders assess the risks and benefits of using radical tools to build reef resilience.

Massive Metal 'Anomaly' Detected 180 Miles Beneath The 2019-06-12 05:37:42The metal mass is five times bigger than the Big Island of Hawaii.

EurekAlert! - Breaking News

Speeding up the journey towards clean energy through 2019-06-18 00:00:00Osaka University researchers studied the photocatalytic activity of oxyhalide materials and were able to demonstrate a relationship between parameters

Apparent increase in tobacco smoking in minority teens 2019-06-18 00:00:00Self-reported rates of cigarette smoking increased in minority 11th and 12th graders after affirmative action bans were implemented in their state, ac

Appearance of deep-sea fish does not signal upcoming 2019-06-18 00:00:00The unusual appearance of deep-sea fish like the oarfish or slender ribbonfish in Japanese shallow waters does not mean that an earthquake is about to

Study shows healthcare workers often care for patients 2019-06-18 00:00:00Large numbers of healthcare workers risk transmitting respiratory viruses to patients and co-workers by attending work even when they have symptoms, a

Latest artificial intelligence research from China in Big 2019-06-18 00:00:00China is among the leaders in the rapidly advancing artificial intelligence field, and its broad range of cutting-edge research expertise is on displa

Study shows experimental drug can encourage bone growth 2019-06-18 00:00:00Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia and seven other medical institutions report that an exp

Record-low fertility rates linked to decline in stable 2019-06-18 00:00:00New research by University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Nathan Seltzer identifies a link between the long-term decline in manufacturing jobs -- ac

ELSI researchers use biological evolution to inspire machine 2019-06-18 00:00:00Evolution allows life to explore almost limitless diversity and complexity. Scientists hope to recreate such open-endedness in the laboratory or in co

Does greater immersion in virtual reality lead to 2019-06-18 00:00:00Contrary to current industry trends to develop more immersive virtual reality systems, a new study found that a more immersive environment or the pres

Good physical fitness in middle age linked to 2019-06-18 00:00:00Good heart and lung (cardiorespiratory) fitness in middle age is associated with a lower long term risk of chronic lung disease (COPD), suggests Danis

New clues on tissue damage identified in rheumatoid 2019-06-18 00:00:00Research supported by the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (RA/SLE) provides new insi

Gut microbes associated with temperament traits in children 2019-06-18 00:00:00Scientists in the FinnBrain research project of the University of Turku discovered that the gut microbes of a 2.5-month-old infant are associated with

Les dernières actualités

La croissance du trou noir supermassif de la 2019-06-17 11:24:00Le Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy de la Nasa a permis de cartographier des champs magnétiques autour du trou noir supermassif

Stark Drive Torque, un vélo électrique avec NFC 2019-06-17 10:31:00Stark est une marque suédoise de vélos électriques pliables qui propose un nouveau modèle bourré de technologies, a

Voiture électrique Byton M-Byte : découvrez son tableau 2019-06-17 09:48:31Après la présentation du cockpit de la M-Byte au Consumer Electronics Show 2019, le constructeur chinois de véhicules élec

Une protéine du sang retarde le vieillissement 2019-06-17 09:31:00Des chercheurs pourraient avoir découvert un moyen d’éviter les effets néfastes du vieillissement. Leurs travaux sugg&egrav

Huawei remballe le Mate X, son smartphone pliable 2019-06-17 08:28:00Après Samsung et son Galaxy Fold, c’est au tour du fabricant chinois de reporter le lancement de son smartphone à écran pli

Baccalauréat 2019 : découvrez les corrigés des épreuves 2019-06-17 07:55:01Vous venez de passer le baccalauréat S et vous voulez estimer vos chances en consultant des corrigés ? Suivez Futura, toujours en premi&

G20 : un accord pour lutter contre la 2019-06-17 06:31:00Chaque année, des millions de tonnes de déchets plastique sont déversées dans les mers et les océans. Avec un

Ça y est : plus de 4.000 exoplanètes 2019-06-17 05:52:12Avec 31 nouvelles candidates érigées au rang d’exoplanètes, le compteur des mondes extrasolaires vient de dépasser l

Bourget 2019 : cet avion réduit de moitié 2019-06-17 05:25:00Aujourd’hui, s’ouvre le 53e Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace de Paris-Le Bourget à un m

Ce gros clou crée le champ magnétique le 2019-06-17 04:31:00Des chercheurs du Laboratoire national des champs magnétiques élevés (MagLab) ont réussi à créer un &ea

Le RV du Dr Cocaul : le 2019-06-17 03:37:51Actuellement, beaucoup de consommateurs se détournent de la viande et tendent vers une consommation de protéines végétales

Bourget 2019 : Futura vous donne rendez-vous au 2019-06-17 03:04:06Le salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace repose ses valises au parc des expositions du Bourget du 17 au 23 juin 2019


La Russie lance un satellite de navigation Glonass 2019-05-27 20:00:00La Force aérospatiale russe a placé en orbite avec succès lundi un satellite de navigation Glonass-M, a rapporté dans un c

Ouverture de l'Exposition internationale de l'industrie des mégadonnées 2019-05-25 20:00:00L'Exposition internationale de l'industrie des mégadonnées de Chine s'est ouverte dimanche dans la ville de Guiyang de la province ch

Ouverture de l'Exposition internationale de l'industrie des mégadonnées 2019-05-25 20:00:00Une exposition internationale sur les mégadonnées s'est ouverte dimanche dans la province chinoise du Guizhou (sud-ouest), se concentra

Shanghai lance la deuxième zone pilote pour l'IA 2019-05-24 20:00:00Shanghai a officiellement engagé samedi des efforts afin de construire une zone pilote pour l'innovation de nouvelle génération

La Chine rapporte des progrès solides dans le 2019-05-23 20:00:00La Chine a réalisé des progrès notables dans le renforcement des capacités d'innovation de ses entreprises ces derni&egra

Une fusée de SpaceX transporte le premier lot 2019-05-23 20:00:00La société spatiale privée américaine SpaceX a lancé jeudi dans l'espace son premier lot de 60 satellites Starlink

La Russie va rouvrir une station de l'Antarctique 2019-05-23 20:00:00La Russie prévoit de remettre en service en 2021 sa station Russkaya, en Antarctique, qui était à l'arrêt depuis 1990, et

Le lancement d'un satellite Yaogan-33 échoue dans le 2019-05-22 20:00:00La tentative de lancement d'un satellite de télédétection Yaogan-33 transporté par une fusée Longue Marche-4C depu

La valeur de l'industrie chinoise de navigation par 2019-05-22 20:00:00La valeur de la production de l'industrie de navigation par satellite chinoise devrait dépasser 400 milliards de yuans (57,9 milliards de doll

Ouverture du 2e challenge international pour tester les 2019-05-22 20:00:00Un challenge international visant à tester les systèmes de sécurité du cyberespace, basés sur la théorie de

La Chine lancera six à huit satellites BDS-3 2019-05-21 20:00:00La Chine enverra six à huit nouveaux satellites du système de navigation par satellite BeiDou (BDS) cette année, a-t-on appris me

Ouverture à Beijing de la conférence sur la 2019-05-21 20:00:00Les dernières réalisations du système de navigation par satellite Beidou (BDS) seront présentées et feront l'objet

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.