Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fast gravity

kw: cosmology, articles

The January/February 2011 issue of Discover consists primarily of "Year in Science 2010", 100 short articles about "the 100 most amazing stories" of the year. Article 76 on page 71 is titled "What Lies Beyond the Edge of the Universe", written by Andrew Moseman. It concerns the work of Alexander Kashlinsky of NASA/Goddard, who has discovered a phenomenon he calls "dark flow". It seems to indicate that a large concentration of matter beyond the observable edge of the Universe is pulling everything we can see in the direction of Centaurus.

He thinks the mass doing the pulling may lie a thousand times farther away than the most distant objects we can see. This implies either that (1) gravitons are not bound by the speed of light, or (2) a gravitational field was set up, perhaps by cosmic inflation, that is coherent over distances that now exceed trillions of parsecs. Considering that in the most recent issue of Scientific American the theory of inflation is being seriously challenged, this makes for some interesting potential fallout.

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