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“One of the pillars of cosmology is that the Universe is isotropic, meaning the same in all directions. Our work shows there may be cracks in that pillar,” said Dr. Konstantinos Migkas, an astronomer at the University of Bonn.

Astronomers generally agree that after the Big Bang, the cosmos has continuously expanded.

A commonly analogy is that this expansion is like a baking loaf of raisin bread. As the bread bakes, the raisins (which represent cosmic objects like galaxies and galaxy clusters) all move away from one another as the entire loaf (representing space) expands.

With an even mix the expansion should be uniform in all directions, as it should be with an isotropic Universe. But these new results may not fit that picture.

“Based on our cluster observations we may have found differences in how fast the Universe is expanding depending on which way we looked,” said Dr. Gerrit Schellenberger, an astronomer in the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“This would contradict one of the most basic underlying assumptions we use in cosmology today.”

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Category: Science