Cosmologist thinks a strange signal may be evidence of a parallel universe

November 17, 2015 by Vanessa Janek, Universe Today
A simulation of the early universe. Credit: M. Alvarez, R. Kaehler, and T. Abel

In the beginning, there was chaos.

Hot, dense, and packed with , the early was a turbulent, bustling place. It wasn't until about 300,000 years after the Big Bang that the nascent cosmic soup had cooled enough for atoms to form and light to travel freely. This landmark event, known as recombination, gave rise to the famous cosmic microwave background (CMB), a signature glow that pervades the entire sky.

Now, a new analysis of this glow suggests the presence of a pronounced bruise in the background—evidence that, sometime around recombination, a parallel universe may have bumped into our own.

Although they are often the stuff of science fiction, parallel universes play a large part in our understanding of the cosmos. According to the theory of eternal inflation, bubble universes apart from our own are theorized to be constantly forming, driven by the energy inherent to space itself.

Like , bubble universes that grow too close to one another can and do stick together, if only for a moment. Such temporary mergers could make it possible for one universe to deposit some of its material into the other, leaving a kind of fingerprint at the point of collision.

Cosmologist thinks a strange signal may be evidence of a parallel universe
The cosmic microwave background (CMB), a pervasive glow made of light from the Universe’s infancy, as seen by the Planck satellite in 2013. Tiny deviations in average temperature are represented by color. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

Ranga-Ram Chary, a cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, believes that the CMB is the perfect place to look for such a fingerprint.

After careful analysis of the spectrum of the CMB, Chary found a signal that was about 4500x brighter than it should have been, based on the number of protons and electrons scientists believe existed in the very . Indeed, this particular signal—an emission line that arose from the formation of atoms during the era of recombination—is more consistent with a universe whose ratio of matter particles to photons is about 65x greater than our own.

There is a 30% chance that this mysterious signal is just noise, and not really a signal at all; however, it is also possible that it is real, and exists because a parallel universe dumped some of its matter particles into our own universe.

After all, if additional protons and electrons had been added to our universe during recombination, more atoms would have formed. More photons would have been emitted during their formation. And the signature line that arose from all of these emissions would be greatly enhanced.

Chary himself is wisely skeptical.

"Unusual claims like evidence for alternate universes require a very high burden of proof," he writes.

Indeed, the signature that Chary has isolated may instead be a consequence of incoming light from distant galaxies, or even from clouds of dust surrounding our own galaxy.

SO is this just another case of BICEP2? Only time and further analysis will tell.

Explore further: New technique for isolating sunny-day 'light' scattering could help illuminate Universe's birth

More information: Spectral Variations of the Sky: Constraints on Alternate Universes. arxiv.org/abs/1510.00126

Related Stories

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

Scientists find first evidence that many universes exist

December 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- By looking far out into space and observing what’s going on there, scientists have been led to theorize that it all started with a Big Bang, immediately followed by a brief period of super-accelerated ...

Recommended for you

Making stars when the universe was half its age

January 18, 2019

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and its stars are arguably its most momentous handiwork. Astronomers studying the intricacies of star formation across cosmic time are trying to understand whether stars and the ...

Saturn hasn't always had rings

January 17, 2019

One of the last acts of NASA's Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn's hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vittalanand36
1 / 5 (5) Nov 17, 2015
Heard of antimatter galaxy and our galaxy and this antimatter galaxy are separated by magnetic field that repel against each and make collision impossible. How far it is true?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 17, 2015
"Chary himself is wisely skeptical.
"Unusual claims like evidence for alternate universes require a very high burden of proof," he writes."

-That kind of selflessness almost brings a tear to my eye. I'd love to hear just one priest talk like this.

This kind of thinking is what will save humanity from itself. This is the true power of the scientific method. It demands objectivity.
my2cts
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 17, 2015
Heard of antimatter galaxy and our galaxy and this antimatter galaxy are separated by magnetic field that repel against each and make collision impossible. How far it is true?

It is nonsense.
theon
1 / 5 (3) Nov 18, 2015
"Chary himself is wisely skeptical.
"Unusual claims like evidence for alternate universes require a very high burden of proof," he writes."

What a false modesty. Had he been serious, he would discuss turbulence or, to the least, a plasma nonlinearity. But no, he has to go to other universes.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.