The whole universe rotates

Is our universe rotating?

Next Tuesday, December 15th, the new issue of Bild der Wissenschaft will be published. The title topic, written by physics and astronomy editor Rüdiger Vaas, is particularly explosive this time: A large galaxy diameter indicates that the universe has an axis. But that would revolutionize cosmology.

Researchers have discovered that something is going wrong in Einstein's universe. Galaxies rotate too one-sided, and hundreds of galaxy clusters are streaming towards an ominous point. While some astrophysicists believe that the cosmic anomalies are just coincidence or ghostly measurement errors, others believe they are on the trail of a great secret. So the universe could be a gigantic carousel. And the ominous “Dark River” may refer to gigantic Big Bang relics beyond our cosmic horizon - or even to other universes.

The universe is no longer the “fixed star sky” of the ancient astronomers, but is subject to a swirling dynamic. Astrophysicists can now quantify parts of this cosmic frenzy fairly precisely: the earth orbits the sun at 29.78 kilometers per second. Together with this, it strives for the 220 million year orbit around the center of the Milky Way. And this Milky Way, together with its neighboring galaxies, is drawn towards the “Great Attractor” at around 400 kilometers per second. This is a gigantic galaxy supercluster 100 million light years away in the constellation Winkel Maß, behind which the Shapley supercluster is hidden at a distance of over 400 million light years. Relative to the cosmic background radiation - the “afterglow” of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago that is everywhere in space - the solar system is striving towards the edge of the constellation Leo at 370 kilometers per second. All of this is embedded in the expansion of space that began with the Big Bang.

Is the Milky Way part of the Dark River?

In addition, there seems to be another movement component that is completely puzzling, writes Rüdiger Vaas: Millions of galaxies at a distance of up to three billion light years race at over 700 kilometers per second in the direction of the constellation Water Snake. Cosmologists speak of a "dark river" - a dark flow because the source or the destination is unclear. “Maybe the cosmologists have to revise their standard model or at least add new factors,” says Vaas. “Cosmologists are still arguing about the interpretation of the measurements - and above all about their explanation. But if the ingenious measurements from around 1,000 X-ray galaxy clusters are correct, the Milky Way should be part of the Dark River. Then the earth would also swim in this cosmic current. "

But that's not all: even the whole universe could move, that is, space itself. An analysis of over 100,000 galaxies suggests this. Its direction of rotation does not seem to be randomly distributed, but rather to refer to a cosmic preferred direction. That would be a sensation because it is incompatible with the favorite theory of cosmologists. It could, however, be brought into line with Einstein's theory of relativity. For the 100th birthday of this grandiose theory of curved space-time and its limits and its future overcoming, Vaas has just published the extensive book “Beyond Einstein's Universe - From Relativity Theory to Quantum Gravity”. "However, not every possible solution to the Einstein equations characterizes the world in which we live, he says."

New understanding of space and time?

The January issue of Bild der Wissenschaft describes how cosmologists came up with the idea that the universe could spin like a carousel - or at least was born rotating. Not only would that frighten the idea of ​​the big world we live in. It would also have drastic implications for understanding space and time and the Big Bang itself.

December 11, 2015