The current model is based on Einstein’s equations assuming everything is smooth on the largest scales. If matter were instead clumpy on very large scales, then the entire model would need to be rethought.
New data from a recently completed galaxy survey was published last night by a PhD student from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and The University of Western Australia in Perth and her colleagues. This paper might finally put an end to this long running debate.
Using the Anglo-Australian Telescope, Ms Morag Scrimgeour has found that on distance scales larger than 350 million light years, matter is distributed extremely evenly, with little sign of fractal-like patterns.
“We used a survey called WiggleZ which contains more than 200,000 galaxies, and probes a cosmic volume of about 3 billion light years, cubed,” Ms Scrimgeour explains “This makes it the largest survey ever used for this type of measurement of the large scale Universe.”
This finding is extremely significant for cosmologists as it confirms that the tools being used to describe the Universe are the right tools for the job after all. Had evidence been found confirming large-scale fractals, it would have left cosmologists without a working model for the Universe, sending them back to the drawing board to painstakingly adjust theories.
ICRAR is a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia providing research excellence in the field of radio astronomy. ICRAR researchers are playing an important role in the design and ultimate success of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project. For more information visit www.icrar.org.
This project is part of ‘The Dark Universe’ theme of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). For more information, please see www.caastro.org.
Morag Scrimgeour et al. “The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: the transition to large-scale cosmic homogeneity.” Accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Journal, Vol 425 Issue 1 2012.
Morag Scrimgeour, ICRAR – UWA
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