Image Credit: M. Alvarez, R. Kaehler, and T. Abel

Cosmologist Thinks a Strange Signal May Be Evidence of a Parallel Universe

Article Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

In the beginning, there was chaos.

Hot, dense, and packed with energetic particles, the early Universe was a turbulent, bustling place. It wasn’t until about 300,000 years after the Big Bang that the nascent cosmic soup had cooled enough for atoms to form and light to travel freely. This landmark event, known as recombination, gave rise to the famous cosmic microwave background (CMB), a signature glow that pervades the entire sky.

Now, a new analysis of this glow suggests the presence of a pronounced bruise in the background — evidence that, sometime around recombination, a parallel universe may have bumped into our own.

Although they are often the stuff of science fiction, parallel universes play a large part in our understanding of the cosmos. According to the theory of eternal inflation, bubble universes apart from our own are theorized to be constantly forming, driven by the energy inherent to space itself.

Like soap bubbles, bubble universes that grow too close to one another can and do stick together, if only for a moment. Such temporary mergers could make it possible for one universe to deposit some of its material into the other, leaving a kind of fingerprint at the point of collision.

Ranga-Ram Chary, a cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, believes that the CMB is the perfect place to look for such a fingerprint.

This image, the best map ever of the Universe, shows the oldest light in the universe. This glow, left over from the beginning of the cosmos called the cosmic microwave background, shows tiny changes in temperature represented by color. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration.

The cosmic microwave background (CMB), a pervasive glow made of light from the Universe’s infancy, as seen by the Planck satellite in 2013. Tiny deviations in average temperature are represented by color. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration.

After careful analysis of the spectrum of the CMB, Chary found a signal that was about 4500x brighter than it should have been, based on the number of protons and electrons scientists believe existed in the very early Universe. Indeed, this particular signal — an emission line that arose from the formation of atoms during the era of recombination — is more consistent with a Universe whose ratio of matter particles to photons is about 65x greater than our own.

There is a 30% chance that this mysterious signal is just noise, and not really a signal at all; however, it is also possible that it is real, and exists because a parallel universe dumped some of its matter particles into our own Universe.

After all, if additional protons and electrons had been added to our Universe during recombination, more atoms would have formed. More photons would have been emitted during their formation. And the signature line that arose from all of these emissions would be greatly enhanced.

Chary himself is wisely skeptical.

“Unusual claims like evidence for alternate Universes require a very high burden of proof,” he writes.

Indeed, the signature that Chary has isolated may instead be a consequence of incoming light from distant galaxies, or even from clouds of dust surrounding our own galaxy.

SO is this just another case of BICEP2? Only time and further analysis will tell.

Chary has submitted his paper to the Astrophysical Journal. A preprint of the work is available here.

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15 Responses

  1. jjb says:


    OMG … I’m sorry, but seriously? First it was the star with the supposed “Alien Structure” – ZIP.

    We do not WANT “intelligent” design. Okay, I get it.

    Now we go ‘here’……???

    Are we getting desperate to find any possible intelligent life form, that now WE have to “create” (or wish/want) to create alternate realities?

    Can we please, for the love of common sense, go back to basic Science 101 ….? Is that even remotely possible now?

    I find it strange that we do not even understand our own Solar System yet. We know A WHOLE LOT LESS – then we do know. This is our own Solar System ….

    So now we want to ‘create’ sometime beyond our solar system with ZERO chance of any verification or anything.

    Can’t we just focus on the OBVIOUS that we can see ….? We do not even understand even 0.0000000000000000000000001+% of the actual PHYSICAL Universe, let alone our own solar system.

    • BlackWolfStanding says:

      Think about this.
      Imagine a Universe that’s dead. It’s been stretched out so thin that there is no more usable energy. No more meaningful matter. No light. No radiation. Time itself became meaningless. Then the stretching of this Universe became so intense that it started to pull sub-plank length objects apart. Boom. One sub-plank length object poured out all of it’s energy. A new Universe came into existence. But that underlying Universe still exists. Still expanding. Hyper expanding in fact. But it is inert. Unable to interact with the new Universe that has been created. But during the creation of the new Universe something strange happened. The Force vectors did not radiant perfectly smooth from this sub-plank length object. The shearing forces almost ripped the new Universe apart. Micro fractures occurred. Some of that underlying Universe is leaking in. We call this “Black Matter.” As the Universe expands, the density of these micro fractured holes remain the same. While the underlying Universe cannot interact with us, we are defiantly interacting with it. As our Universe gets larger, all those holes are dragging on the underlying Universe. While our Universe slowed it’s expansion because of the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, our Universe is still dragging on the underlying Universe which is causing our Universe to expand faster. This we call “Dark Energy.” The more our Universe expands, the more it is dragging on the Underlying Universe and the faster we will expand. This expansion is tied to the overall size of the Universe (Not just the Hubble limit of the Universe).

      The proof of this scenario is simple: If the acceleration of the Universe expansion equals the increase in size of the Universe, then this scenario is true.

    • Chill out, dude. What part of, “Chary himself is wisely skeptical.” did you miss? This is simply showing that something odd is being observed and COULD point in that direction. It suggests other possibilities as well. And what does distance matter per our understanding something? We can see and collect data from everywhere. Try and form a logical argument.

    • InTheory says:

      jjb. Science 101 does little to prepare a person for the more bizarre aspects of science, such as spooky action at a distance, particles getting from point A to point B without moving through the intervening space, Schrödinger’s cat, and yes, the existence of a multiverse.

      The author of the paper is remaining “wisely skeptical”, but one of the main arguments against a multiverse is the lack of evidence, and here we have the possibility of the thumbprint of one on our own universe.

      Healthy skepticism is great in science, but outright incredulity and denial are more the province of religion and politics than science.

  2. Aqua4U says:

    When the Planck *.sat data set arrived and showed what appeared to be at least one large and EXTREMELY cold void in the field continuity of the CMB cosmologists shuddered and the theories began to fly! This one, by Ranga-Ram Chary seems to have gained some traction?

    The multiverse theory if proven true, would once again exponentially enlarge the scale of creation. This paradigm shift would be similar to, but vastly larger than, Edwin Hubble’s leap with the discovery of distant galaxies. How about our infinite universe residing in an ocean of infinite universes? Does that burst your Hubble ‘bubble’?

  3. InTheory says:

    Could this be an answer to the question of why our Universe has a surplus of matter when the Big Bang should have theoretically produced equal parts of matter and antimatter?

  4. Cassiopeian says:

    Chary didn’t look at the CMB itself, but created a foreground-cleaned model from the Planck satellite’s all-sky CMB maps. So as with the BICEP2 discovery, the big question concerns how good a cleaning job was done.
    I find it very interesting that this residual emission signal should coincide with the enigmatic CMB cold spot. What are the odds on a chance alignment ? Slim I’d say.

  5. Ray Bingham says:

    Now that I hear that the CMB is an echo from the time when light began to travewl through the universe I believe more than ever that the CMB is the echo of the phrase “Let there be Light”. We just aren’t listening right yet.

  6. Mich48 says:

    If you were to travel in one direction for infinity and leave the area that all our best telescopes can see you would likely see something more. It is like saying the Sun circles the Earth to say that our universe is all there is. Infinity is a big word. A fact that can not be unproven.

  7. chfosmith says:

    I also agree with InTheory.
    I have always had the suspicion that the original universe became unstable after the Big Bang, and that it split into a matter and a parallel antimatter universe.
    But where would the evidence be?
    This may be the answer.

  8. laflam says:

    Light is cast on the metaphysical aspect of the Multiverse in the novel, The Dregs of Aquarius, beginning on page 82. Insight was gained on an Acid overdose. Seriously, the answer is there. Free on Kindle, November 18&19

  9. chfosmith says:

    Hi Mich48
    At the Big Bang, the space created had to have a positive Riemann curvature, or otherwise we would not see the remote galaxies retreating at roughly equal rates.
    This implies a closed Riemann geometry.
    This curvature is tiny because the equation is divided by the fourth power of the speed of light.
    By current theory you would have to travel in a spaceship in one direction at a Warpspeed of eighteen billion for ten years to end up in the same place you started.
    Of course, when you arrived, the universe would no longer exist because of the time dilatation effect of Relativity.
    But infinity, no, not in this case.

Comments are closed.