Billion-light-year-wide cold spot in Universe is really nothing special

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Washington, September 24 (ANI): A new analysis by scientists has determined that a billion-light-year-wide cold spot in the universe, which was found in 2004, is merely a statistical artifact, and one that's really nothing special.

Earlier, theories had abounded that it's a cosmic defect, a mysterious supervoid, or even an "imprint" of a parallel universe.

"I think our findings bring into question all the hype about the cold spot," study co-author Dragan Huterer of the University of Michigan told National Geographic News.

Huterer and colleague Ray Zhang took a new look at a well-known temperature map of the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, the ancient and diffuse afterglow of the big bang.

The map revealed the CMB has an average temperature of about 2.7 Kelvin (-455 degrees Fahrenheit, or -270 degrees Celsius).

A few small patches are slightly warmer or cooler than average, but they vary by less than a microkelvin.

But, initial studies of the CMB map revealed one region nestled in the constellation Eridanus that appears to be unusually cold-about 70 microkelvins cooler than average.

The spot is the one place in the universe where the temperature deviates drastically.

This was a startling finding, since accepted models of the early universe say that the big bang created an initially uniform cosmic landscape, when viewed on large scales.

Possible explanations have so far included a huge cloud that's soaking up CMB radiation, a gaping hole devoid of matter, or even the footprint of another universe that was once entangled with our own.

Now, Huterer and Zhang are ready to throw cold water on these theories.

They argue that the spot is no more than a byproduct of the statistical tool commonly used to examine CMB data, called the Spherical Mexican Hat Wavelets method.

In their study, Huterer and Zhang analyzed the cold spot using two simpler statistical tools.

Their new findings show that the cold spot's temperature deviation from the CMB average is, after all, no more or less than anywhere else in the universe. (ANI)

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