Washington, Nov 7 : A new study has suggested that unknown and unseen structures, which may be located beyond the current cosmological horizon, are tugging on our universe like cosmic magnets.
According to a report in New Scientist, Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, led the study.
Everything in the known universe is said to be racing toward the massive clumps of matter at more than 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers) an hour-a movement the researchers have dubbed "dark flow".
"Dark flow" was named in reference to dark energy and dark matter-two other unexplained astrophysical phenomena.
The newfound flow cannot be explained by, and is not directly related to, the expansion of the universe, though the researchers believe the two types of movement are happening at the same time.
The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger-a multiverse-and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to Kashlinsky.
In an attempt to simplify the complex concept, Kashlinsky relates the theory to an ocean.
According to Kashlinsky, if you picture yourself floating in the middle of a vast ocean, you will see that it is smooth and the same in every direction, just as most astronomers believe the universe is.
"You would think that beyond the horizon, therefore, nothing is different," he said.
"But then you discover a faint but coherent flow in your ocean. You would deduce that the entire cosmos is not exactly like what you can see within your own horizon," he added.
There must be an out-of-sight mountain river or ravine pushing or pulling the water.
In the cosmological case, Kashlinsky speculates that "this motion is caused by structures well beyond the current cosmological horizon, which is more than 14 billion light-years away."
Though this dark flow was detected only in galaxy clusters, it should apply to every structure in the known universe, according to Kashlinsky.
To explain the unexplainable flow, the team turned to the longstanding theory that rapid inflation just after the big bang had pushed chunks of matter beyond the known universe.
The extra-universal matter's extreme mass means it could still tug on the matter in our universe, causing this flow of galaxies across our observable horizon," Kashlinsky said.