Parallel Universes…Really?!


We’ve reached a very exciting point in science where talk of parallel universes is taken seriously. That’s right. The sideways reality of Lost may actually exist! Sounds crazy, right? Mind blowing, yes. But, crazy? No. I mean, it isn’t Scientology, right? Yet, when I talk about the concept of parallel universes beyond the fiction realm, family and friends look at me as though I believe little aliens live in my blood stream. (Actually, I’m a hypochondriac. This could be possible…) Why is this? There is so much going on in the world of physics that points to the existence of other universes. So, why am I crazy? Isn’t anyone keeping up with the world of science? I’ve read the research! I’ve written about it for a news website! So, why do I get those disbelieving looks? Then it hit me, while I was having a conversation with my doubting uncle. The concept of parallel universes is so mind blowing to us. It would be like trying to explain TVs to cavemen. They are as normal to us as the air we breath, but the boxes that show moving images and sound would appear as magic to any caveman.

In the case of parallel universes, one really would need to read about the evidence. After all, TV is very real.

The concept of parallel universes excites me to no end. The scientific, ethical and even religious issues and possibilities are countless. My intent here is to bring some non-fiction to parallel universes. So, I will be writing about the various evidence for their existence.

Let’s start with Dark Flow.

Dark Flow

The Coma Galaxy Cluster, which appears to participate in the mysterious motion known as dark flow. Credit: National Geographic Photograph courtesy Misti Mountain Observatory

According to evidence 1st collected two years ago, unknown structures may be outside of our universe, pulling at us like giant cosmic magnets. Everything in our universe is moving at more than 2 million miles per hour towards this matter that is laying on the outskirts of creation. This movement is called Dark Flow.

The Great Surprise

In 2008, scientists set out to study the motion of galaxy clusters, but instead discovered something very unexpected.

They used data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures the properties of the cosmic microwave radiation. This is radiation that was released 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The radiation, to this day, permeates the universe and acts as a constant backdrop for motion. When a cluster moves, either faster or slower than the radiation, the background heats up in that particular spot, as National Geographic put it, due to “electron-scattering friction between the cluster’s hot gas and particles in the background radiation” reveling information about the speed of the clusters.

Well, when scientists studied 700 galaxy clusters, “We found a great surprise,” said study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, to National Geographic. All of the clusters were moving in one direction at the same speed.

How to Imagine Dark Flow

Kashlinksy tried to simplify this concept to National Geographic. He said to picture oneself floating in the middle of a vast ocean. When you look into the distance all around you, the ocean is going to appear the same, which is how astronomers look at the universe. It appears the same in all directions.

“But then you discover a faint but coherent flow in your ocean,” Kashlinsky told National Geographic. “You would deduce that the entire cosmos is not exactly like what you can see within your own horizon.”

There has to be some unseen structure, like a ravine, that is pulling at the water. Kashlinsky speculates that, in terms of the universe, “this motion is caused by structures well beyond the current cosmological horizon, which is more than 14 billion light-years away.”

All current models cannot properly explain Dark flow. The motion does not have to do with the ever expansion of the universe. The universe is expanding and moving at the same time. So, the theory as it stands has everything to do with gravity. The belief is that our universe is caught up in the gravity of the extra-universal matter, which must be massive to capture our entire universe like this.

Scientists aren’t sure what the structures exactly are, or where they came from, but believe they may have gotten to where they’re at because of the Big Bang. When the Big Bang happened, the rapid inflation of the universe could have occurred so fast that matter may have been pushed outside of our universe. It could be that very matter that is tugging at us.

The notion that there’s structures outside of our universe would prove that our universe isn’t all that exists. It shows that we may be part of a multiverse.

Two Years Later and Dark Flow Still Strong

So, does dark flow indeed verify that our universe isn’t the only one out there? After all, there has been doubts.

“It’s suggestive that something’s going on, but what exactly is going on? It basically tells us to investigate,” Astrophysicist Hume Feldman of the University of Kansas told National Geographic in 2008.

“Until these results are reanalyzed by another group, I have strong doubts about the validity of the conclusions of this paper,” David Spergel, an astrophysicist at Princeton University, wrote to National Geographic.

Even Kashlinksy agreed that there’s many unanswered questions. The structures themselves are a big mystery, and, as he had told National Geographic, “They could be anything. As bizarre as you could imagine—some warped space-time. Or maybe something dull.”

Well, two years after the initial findings, and double the galaxy clusters studied, dark flow appears to be very real.

“…we clearly see the flow, we clearly see it pointing in the same direction,” Kashlinksy said this year to National Geographic. “It looks like a very coherent flow.”

They looked at 1,400 galaxy clusters this time, and saw dark flow still in action. It even extends deeper into the universe than they had originally thought. Dark flow goes out to at least 2.5 billion light-years from Earth, and Kashlinksy believes that this motion can be found across the entire universe, which is about 47 billion light years. This would indeed show that matter outside of our universe is responsible for the flow.

I’m not saying to start using DC comic books as scientific textbooks. That would be crazy. But, the evidence is there.

The multiverse may exist.

Photographer: djcodrin


4 thoughts on “Parallel Universes…Really?!

    • … TYPO or was it a ghost messing with my computer? Anyway I don’t believe in aliens as in flying space ships.

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