Scientists find vast hole in universe
Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe.The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light-years across of nothing. That is an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, a University of Minnesota team said.Astronomers have known for many years that there are patches in the universe where nobody is home. In fact, one such place is nearly a neighbor, a mere 2 million light-years away.But what the Minnesota team discovered, using two different types of astronomical observations, is a void far bigger than scientists ever imagined.“This is 1,000 times the volume of what we sort of expected to see in terms of a typical void,” said Minnesota astronomy professor Lawrence Rudnick, author of the paper that will be published in Astrophysical Journal.Rudnick was examining a sky survey from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which essentially takes radio pictures of a broad expanse of the universe.But one area of the universe had radio pictures indicating there was up to 45 percent less matter in that region, Rudnick said. The rest of the matter in the pictures can be explained as stars and other cosmic structures between here and the void, about 5 billion to 10 billion light-years away.Rudnick then checked observations of cosmic microwave background radiation and found a cold spot. The only explanation, Rudnick said, is it is empty of matter.