Universe `bound by cosmic thread`
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Last Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011, 12:26
  
Washington: Planetary scientists claim to have discovered that the universe is bound by cosmic thread.

An international team, led by the Australian National University, says that it has got evidence of the vast filament of material connecting the Milky Way galaxy to nearby clusters of galaxies, which are similarly interconnected to the rest of the universe, the 'Astrophysical Journal' journal reported.

"By examining the positions of ancient groupings of stars, called globular clusters, we found that the clusters form a narrow plane around the Milky Way rather than being scattered across the sky.

"Furthermore, the Milky Way's entourage of small satellites are seen to inhabit the same plane. What we have discovered is evidence for the cosmic thread that connects us to the vast expanse of the Universe.

"The filament of star clusters and small galaxies around the Milky Way is like the umbilical cord that fed our Galaxy during its youth," Dr Stefan Keller, who led the team, said.

According to the scientists, there were two types of matter that made up the Universe -- the dominant, enigmatic dark matter and ordinary matter in the form of galaxies, stars and planets.

"A consequence of the Big Bang and the dominance of dark matter is that ordinary matter is driven, like foam on the crest of a wave, into vast interconnected sheets and filaments stretched over enormous cosmic voids ? much like the structure of a kitchen sponge.

"Unlike a sponge, however, gravity draws the material over these interconnecting filaments towards the largest lumps of matter, and our findings show that the globular clusters and satellite galaxies of the Milky Way trace this cosmic filament.

"Globular clusters are systems of hundreds of thousands of ancient stars tightly packed in a ball. Once these small galaxies got too close to the Milky Way, the majority of stars were stripped away and added to our galaxy, leaving only their cores," he said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, September 30, 2011, 12:26


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