One of the most mysterious anomalies astronomers have detected in space is the CMB “Cold Spot,” a massive void in space where no cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) is found. Cosmic background radiation – energy left over from the Big Bang – is believed to spread throughout the entire universe. So far, the most common theory for this galactic ‘cold’ spot is that it’s a so-called supervoid, an unexplained and little-understood “hole” in space where few galaxies or types of matter exist.
However, astronomers from England’s Durham University have announced that this supervoid theory might not be able to explain the CMB Cold Spot and that furthermore, more “exotic” explanations could be a foot including a collision between entirely separate universes. The researchers claim that their data might be some of the first to prove the existence of the multiverse.
The study’s authors, Durham postgraduate student Ruari Mackenzie and professor of astrophysics Tom Shanks, analyzed readings of the spectra of light being emitted from 7,000 galaxies spread throughout the universe. Their data will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and is currently available on arXiv.org. Rather than finding a single massive void surrounding the Cold Spot, they claim their data shows a collection of small voids surrounded by small clusters of galaxies similar to bubbles in foam.
In a Royal Astronomical Society press release, Shanks says that some unknown fluctuation or new phenomenon which fits under the umbrella of normal physics might be able to explain their data – but then again, the data could possibly indicate unknown higher cosmic mysteries:
If that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe. If further, more detailed, analysis of CMB data proves this to be the case then the Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse – and billions of other universes may exist like our own.
Of course, these theories are for now just that: theories. Much more data, likely decades’ worth, is needed to even begin hinting at proving the existence of a multiverse according to scientific standards. However, the researchers are confident that this new study may tip the balance towards these “exotic” explanations for some of the stranger observable phenomena in our mysterious universe.