from Atlas Obscura

The Scientist Who Thinks He Found Proof of a Parallel Dimension

Not sci-fi, just science.

Mapping cosmic radiation: the different colors indicate 3.77 billion year old temperature fluctuations. (Photo: NASA/WMAP Science Team/Public Domain)

Parallel universes have long been a staple of superhero comic books, where they usually go hand-in-hand with stories about bizarro worlds just like ours, gone terribly wrong.

But despite their place in science fiction, scientists have taken the idea of parallel universes seriously for quite awhile now. And a mysterious blob discovered in 2015, in a map of our own universe’s glow, might actually be a cosmic bruise—a sign that our universe has collided with another one.

How does this work? First, you need to understand the cosmic microwave background, or CMB—the oldest light in the cosmos. Essentially, it’s a steady, persistent background radiation filling the universe, left over from the Big Bang. (It’s believed to be the vestigial result of recombination, the moment when neutrons and electrons first combined to create hydrogen.)

After mapping and analyzing the CMB using data from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope, Ranga-Ram Chary, a cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, thinks that he’s spotted a telling inconsistency in the pattern: a blob of light that’s about 4,500 times brighter than it should be, based on our existing understanding of the early universe. As explains it, the blob’s signature is “more consistent with a universe whose ratio of matter particles to photons is about 65x greater than our own.”

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