Our Early Universe May Have Been Spinning in Different Patterns, as per Study

The team observed over 200,000 spiral galaxies and found that our own early universe might have been spinning too.
Fabienne Lang
The photo credit line may appear like thisalex-mit/iStock

Assumptions of the large-scale structure of our universe have been floating around for decades, and a new study from Kansas State University has now brought a conflicting assumption onto the table. 

It turns out that thanks to a structure formed by spinning galaxies, our early universe might have been a spinning one.

The findings were shared at the 236th American Astronomical Society meeting this month. 


No direction

Astronomers have thought for a while now that our universe is inflating without a set direction and that the galaxies within it aren't in any specific structure.

However, Lior Shamir, a computational astronomer and computer scientist at Kansas State University, and his team observed over 200,000 spiral galaxies and suggested that the universe may indeed have a specific structure and that it could be spinning. 

The study points out that the patterns of the distribution of these galaxies suggest that spiral galaxies in different sections of the universe are, in fact, related by the direction in which they spin. 

Our Early Universe May Have Been Spinning in Different Patterns, as per Study
An all-sky mollweide map of the quadrupole in the distribution of galaxy spin direction, Source: Kansas State University

"Data science in astronomy has not just made astronomy research more cost-effective, but it also allows us to observe the universe in a completely different way," said Shamir. "The geometrical pattern exhibited by the distribution of the spiral galaxies is clear, but can only be observed when analyzing a very large number of astronomical objects."

These patterns span over 4 billion light-years and the team found that the asymmetry in that range is not the same all round. The team saw that the asymmetry grows when these galaxies are further away from Earth, demonstrating that the early universe was more consistent and less chaotic than the current one. 

As Shamir explained "If the universe has an axis, it is not a simple single axis like a merry-go-round. It is a complex alignment of multiple axes that also have a certain drift."

He continued "There is no error or contamination that could exhibit itself through such unique, complex, and consistent patterns."

"We have two different sky surveys showing the exact same patterns, even when the galaxies are completely different. There is no error that can lead to that. This is the universe that we live in. This is our home."


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