CMB Cold Spot Mystery: Supervoid Found
- December 01, 2015
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Astronomers from the University of Hawaii may have identified the single largest object in existence and thus solved an anomaly that has baffled scientists and astronomers for long. It was Dr Istvan Szapudiand his team from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii who claimed to have found proof of a vast andrelatively empty area of space called "supervoid”. If confirmed of its existence, this cold and dark space, which spans at least 1.8 billion light years across the space, situated only 3billion light years from Earth, would be "the largest individual structure ever identified by humanity".
This significance of this discovery lies not only in its enormous size but in the fact that it could help in explaining the baffling phenomenon of Cold Spot. Cold Spot is an unusually cold area which has a temperature that is far below the predictions of theories related to Big Bang and the earliest radiations in the universe.
In the constellation of Eridanus, in the southern galactic hemisphere, the temperature maps of CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) produced by Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and Plank satellite of European Space Agency has detected this unusual spot.
The Cold Spot has hitherto been a threat to the physics of Big Bang as it absolutely disobeys any anticipation of standard physics. Other than building us Big Bang again from scratches, the only other way to explain the Cold Spot was to find something extraordinarily large between Earth and the CMB. A supervoid is such an enormous entity that could fill in the gaps and solve the mystery without any clutter. A super void is a relatively empty region of space where there is lesser number of galaxies than anywhere else in the universe.
Though a theory of supervoid was initially announced by researchers at the University of Minnesota in 2007, their theory lacked definite proofs. It was also believed that Cold Spot could probably only be a statistical error. There were other theories which proposed to solve this mystery like a quantum entanglement with a parallel universe or cosmic texture. With the release of Planck’s data the existence of the Cold Spot was confirmed, only its cause was not yet to be found.
And it is Szapudi and his team who now claims to solve this mystery. Nasa's Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE) and the land basedHawaii's Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) telescope have been instrumental in finding much more evidence to determine the existence of a large supervoid between CMB and Earth. The cold spot can be explained much more simply and authentically than other theories with the research which states that the existence of a supervoid combined with the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe effects which means light leaves a supervoid with lesser energy with a longer wavelength than at which it entered and hence it appears cold to observers on Earth.
Even though this is not a complete explanation, it is definitely a solid step towards a more perfect one. To establish this theory much more firmly more and more observations and studies are required.