New Study Challenges Cosmology Fundamentals
A new study using data from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory and European Space Agency's XMM-Newton challenges one of the fundamental ideas of cosmology that everything looks the same in all directions if you look over large enough distances.
Astronomers using X-ray data from these orbiting observatories studied hundreds of galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the universe held together by gravity, and how their apparent properties differ across the sky.
"One of the pillars of cosmology -- the study of the history and fate of the entire universe -- is that the universe is 'isotropic,' meaning the same in all directions," said Konstantinos Migkas of the University of Bonn in Germany, who led the new study.
"Our work shows there may be cracks in that pillar."
Astronomers generally agree that after the Big Bang, the cosmos has continuously expanded.
Scientists have previously conducted many tests of whether the universe is the same in all directions.
These included using optical observations of exploded stars and infrared studies of galaxies.