Cosmic strings might emit cosmic sparks, answer cosmological questions

( -- For astronomers, understanding what happened in the early moments of the universe could answer many questions in physics and astronomy. One possible player in the early universe is cosmic strings, which arise naturally in particle physics models. However, cosmic strings are quite strange hypothetical entities: they’re thinner than a proton, but can be as long as the universe. Cosmic strings might have formed as imperfections when the early universe was undergoing drastic phase changes.

“If cosmic strings were found to exist, it would tell us that the universe was very hot (trillion trillion degrees) in the first fraction of a nanosecond,” physicist Tanmay Vachaspati told “It would tell us that the fundamental theory must admit string solutions. Further studies of the properties of the strings could tell us if string theory may be correct. So the discovery of cosmic strings would be truly remarkable for a wide cross-section of physicists and astronomers.”

Cosmic strings are also superconducting, and can be viewed as elastic, current-carrying wires that permeate the cosmos as closed loops and infinitely long curves. The strings oscillate under their own tension, giving off very strong electromagnetic radiation.

Possibly, a recent observation of a radio burst, or spark, could have been caused by such a superconducting cosmic string. That’s the idea being suggested by Vachaspati, from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Vachaspati has developed a prediction that cosmic strings could produce potentially observable radio sparks, and recently published his study in Physical Review Letters. Previous attempts to observe cosmic strings have focused primarily on high-energy emission such as gamma rays, rather than lower-energy radio waves.

The recent radio spark was observed by Dunc Lorimer and colleagues, and reported in 2007. No host galaxy has been identified for the spark, which lasted only a millisecond, and had a high central frequency of 1.4 GHz. Vachaspati found that the radio spark’s properties, such as its duration, fluence, spectrum, and event rate, match well with a superconducting cosmic string that carries a current of about 100,000 GeV.

“Lorimer et al’s result is the first radio burst to be detected at cosmological distances,” Vachaspati said. “Their observation triggered the idea that radio bursts may be a good way to search for strings.”

Such a spark could come from a point called a “cusp” on an idealized, one-dimensional cosmic string. For a brief instant, a cusp reaches the speed of light, and this localized region emits a very strong electromagnetic radiation. Vachaspati found that an observer located at a large distance and slightly off the beam direction could see this radiation as a spark similar to the one observed by Lorimer’s group.

Whether this particular radio spark was caused by cosmic strings or something else, Vachaspati explains that the important thing is how his predictions could influence particle physics. For example, the existence or absence of cosmic strings could be used to constrain various fundamental models.

He explained that the superconducting cosmic string model may be tested in a variety of ways, such as looking for signatures of decaying particle emission, looking for unusual “fanlike” radiation patterns from kinks on the strings, and finding more radio sparks located outside of galaxies.

More information: Vachaspati, Tanmay. “Cosmic Sparks from Superconducting Strings.” Physical Review Letters, 101, 141301 (2008).

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Oct 09, 2008
SETI thinks it's possible the Lorimer burst was caused by a civilization.

Oct 09, 2008
Interesting if true, they could be used in theory as time machines. As you plot a trajectory orbiting such a string you can actually plot a course which will move faster around the string than a light beam due to the warpage of space.

I've always wondered what keeps the things from "breaking" however if the universe is expanding. They must be under a HUGE amount of tension.

Oct 09, 2008
SETI thinks it's possible the Lorimer burst was caused by a civilization.

Even more interesting if true. I think it's quite possible some of the "natural" phenomena we see (like the dark flow article a while back) might be the unrecognized handiwork of super civilizations.

After all do ants understand a shuttle launches when they see them?

Oct 09, 2008
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Oct 09, 2008
AWT is garbage.

Oct 09, 2008
"...carries a current of about 100,000 GeV". Since GeV is a unit of energy, and not Coulombs per second, what the hell does it mean?????

Oct 09, 2008
What a load of crap, what next?????

These guys are trying to justify their string work in any way they can instead of admitting a dead end.

Oct 09, 2008
Sweet! Like watching spacial phenomenon on Star Trek but in real life!

Oct 10, 2008
Their coffee maker must have shorted in the other room.

Oct 10, 2008
Occham does not approve

Oct 10, 2008
At least it ATTEMPTS to propose an experiment.

Oct 11, 2008
Sub: COSMIC STRINGS-PARTICLE PHYSICS-Cusp Formations- Probable Energy Concepts
My book on PLASMA REGULATED ELECTRO_MAGNETIC UNIVERSE [1996] Provides more Figures,Inputs and feasible models based from COSMOLOGY VEDAS as Interlinks.These will definitely help Science to advance. This is the I proposed EAST WEST INTERACTION- Books Copy rights are taken in USA so that Scientists can freely Interact.
Additionally, I presented the concepts in Cosmology Review [dot] Com in 2000 and presented papers at Carnegie Centennial Symposium-2, Jan 2003 and Universe-Cosmic Pot Energy - in STSCi Symposium ,May 2003.
Further inputs -See Cosmos Yoga Vision series I-IV and V-VI now getting ready. Lots of Space data fits-in.
COSMOLOGY VEDAS-Interlinks-FREE DOWNLOAD : http://www.buymye...kId=1422
Vidyardhi Nanduri

Oct 11, 2008
and if they keep looking, with our money!, and keep coming up empty handed, with our money!, doesn't that suggest that the universe should be considered static (no big bang beginning) until the evidence is produced, not just hypothesized??

Oct 12, 2008
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Oct 12, 2008
I have problem to consider the explanations of unobserved-yet objects (i.e. the cosmic sparks) by another unobserved-yet artifacts (i.e. the cosmic strings) on background of unconfirmed-yet theory (the string theory), despite the undeniable interestingness of it.

But Alizee, aren't you suggesting just that with your previous comment about AWT?

By AWT the cosmic strings are dark matter streaks, which are formed by the same way, like the foamy density fluctuations, forming vacuum.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but is your objection not also able to be stated as:

...I have problem to consider the explanations of unobserved-yet objects (i.e. the cosmic sparks) by another unobserved-yet artifacts (i.e. the dark matter streaks) on background of unconfirmed-yet theory (the AWT)... ?

Oct 13, 2008
The streaks of dark matter are observable with compare to cosmic strings and by AWT they're formed by the same way, like quantum foam, forming vacuum: as a density fluctuations of underlying particles, like ordinary foam. These dark matter streaks are pretty thick, being expanded by inflation, as they're contain whole gallaxies in their nodes. The AWT proposes a simple mechanism of their formation, compatible with inflation and expyrotic cosmology. We can observe the formation of similar structures during fast freezing of supercooled fluids, for example.


It means, in this model the dark matter foam, gallactic cluster formation, ekpyrotic cosmology and inflation has a robust physical meaning with compare to cosmic strings, which appears as quite redundant and sci-fi artifacts for me. How such thin wires could remain stable and observable up to these days?

If we will find them, it will be a huge success of string theory, because the existence of such objects appears quite contraintuitive for me.

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