Astronomers Find "Dark Flow" Sucking Matter Out of the Universe

Illustration for article titled Astronomers Find Dark Flow Sucking Matter Out of the Universe

There is a force called "dark flow" that exists outside our universe, and it's tugging several galaxy clusters at 2 million mph toward an empty spot in space between Centaurus (pictured) and Vela. This isn't like dark matter, which exerts a more localized pull: Dark flow is a force that's operating at a universe level to push enormous chunks of matter around. Writing in Astrophysical Journal Letters, a group of astronomers say that this dark flow comes from a place where constants like time don't exist — nor do stars and galaxies. According to

The scientists deduced that whatever is driving the movements of the clusters must lie beyond the known universe. A theory called inflation posits that the universe we see is just a small bubble of space-time that got rapidly expanded after the Big Bang. There could be other parts of the cosmos beyond this bubble that we cannot see. In these regions, space-time might be very different, and likely doesn't contain stars and galaxies (which only formed because of the particular density pattern of mass in our bubble). It could include giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe. These structures are what researchers suspect are tugging on the galaxy clusters, causing the dark flow. "The structures responsible for this motion have been pushed so far away by inflation, I would guesstimate they may be hundreds of billions of light years away, that we cannot see even with the deepest telescopes because the light emitted there could not have reached us in the age of the universe," Kashlinsky said in a telephone interview. "Most likely to create such a coherent flow they would have to be some very strange structures, maybe some warped space time. But this is just pure speculation."


I'm ready for the strange structures, and for warped space time. Bring it on. Mysterious New "Dark Flow" Discovered in Space [via]

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Aidan_ III: The Return

Queerer than we can imagine...

I wonder, though. Is this happening right now, or is it just that the data is only now reaching us? The size of the universe and speed of light always make the wordings of these discoveries confusing to me.