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If you look around space, you'll notice a lot of things — the planets, stars, moons, even the galaxy itself — have one thing in common: they're spinning. So, is the universe spinning, too?
This mystery is one that cosmologists have been acutely studying, because it's one that can tell us about the fundamental nature of the universe.
Question - Cosmology - Cosmology - Way - Physics
"It's a very abstract question, as is most of cosmology, but those of us who study cosmology think it's a way to study fundamental physics," said Tess Jaffe, an astrophysicist at the University of Maryland and an assistant research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "There are certain things we cannot test in a laboratory on Earth, so we use the universe and the geometry of the universe, which could tell us something about fundamental physics." [If There Were a Time Warp, How Would Physicists Find It?]
Scientists, in thinking about the universe's fundamental nature, started out by assuming that the universe is not rotating and is isotropic, meaning it looks the same in all directions. This assumption is consistent with Einstein's equations, but isn't required by them. From this thinking, scientists built a standard of cosmological model that describes the universe.
Assumption - Way - Calculations - Way - Data
"This [assumption] is really encoded in the way we carry out our calculations, the way we analyze our data, in the way we do a lot of things," Daniela Saadeh, a research fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. "But you have to test it. You can't just hope for the best."
To see if these assumptions about the universe and its fundamental physics were right, scientists gathered observations to test their models. In particular, they used the light from the cosmic microwave background, or CMB for short. This light...
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It had only one fault, it was useless.