A cosmologist from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) believes he may just have found proof that an alternate and parallel universe does indeed exist.
In a study featured in the Astrophysical Journal, researcher Ranga-Ram Chary described evidence of a cosmic bruising, or the bumping of one universe against another, which could be used to identify an anomaly he discovered on the cosmic microwave background map.
Cosmic Microwave Background
Considered a remnant from the Big Bang event, the cosmic microwave background consists of the light that was formed from the chaos of the new universe's birth.
Chary created a map of this cosmic phenomenon using data collected from the European Space Agency's (ESA) space telescope Planck. He then compared his map with that of the entirety of the night sky, after which he discovered what seemed to be a blob made of bright light.
Bursts of ancient light have long been observed from the cosmic microwave background. Scientists have used these light signatures to identify traces of radiation in the universe believed to have been formed during the first 100,000 years following the Big Bang event.
Researchers believe the ancient light itself was likely formed from a recombination, which was when particles of protons and electrons first came together to constitute the element of hydrogen in the universe.
With the range of visible light from hydrogen severely limited, scientists use this to determine the specific colors of the ancient blobs observed in the cosmic background.
In Chary's model [pdf] of the cosmic background, however, the blob had a different color from what it should have had. He said that this phenomenon could be explained through the use of a multiverse theory.
"Our universe may simply be a region within an eternally inflating super-region," the Caltech researcher wrote.
Multiverse theorists argue that the continuous expansion of the universe has produced various pockets of energy that ended up expanding at a much faster rate and created several other pocket universes of their own.
Some scientists pointed out that this theory of cosmic inflation, or the ancient universe's rapid expansion, lends itself to the plausibility of a multiverse.
MIT researcher and inflation theory advocate Alan Guth said that most versions of the inflation concept result in an eternal inflation, leading to many other pocket universes being created.
While the idea of multiple and parallel universes is supported by a number of well-known cosmologists and astrophysicists, other scientists choose to dismiss the possibility, calling it more philosophy or science fiction than hard science.
Opponents of multiverse theories argue that the essence of empirical science does not allow such theories to be proven or disproven.
Meanwhile, other experts in the field seek a common ground on the debate.
Princeton researcher David Spergel said that alternative possibilities should also be looked at, such as the complicated properties of foreground dust, which could offer a more plausible explanation for the ancient light.
Chary also tried to explore other possibilities but decided against them because he said his ideas would likely be heavily scrutinized.
He noted in his study that further research is required to find a definitive conclusion to his discovery.
Photo: Lauro Roger McAllister | Flickr