Big Hole

In a paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers from the University of Minnesota describe their discovery of a large cosmic void, about 1 billion light-years across. This big glob of nothing was found by combining data on the CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation) from WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) and radio astronomy sources from NVSS (NRAO [National Radio Astronomy Observatory] VLA [Very Large Array] Sky Survey).   The void first showed up as a ‘cold spot’ in the WMAP data. When they looked at the NVSS data, they found… nothing. In fact they found a whole lot of nothing. Wired news has a write-up on it, as does StarStryder and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (which operates the VLA). It’s making the broadcast news too.

One commenter on StarStryder thinks that the scientists have overstated their case. We’ll see how this shakes out. If this void is real, and not some anomaly of the data, then it may require some tweaking to the current theories.

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