--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
zodiacal coordinates: 9 Taurus 53.
Mark A. Holmes
> Begin story.--
> Huge Hole Found in the Universe
> By Robert Roy Britt
> Senior Science Writer
> posted: 23 August 2007
> 05:21 pm ET
> The universe has a huge hole in it that dwarfs anything else of its
> kind. The discovery caught astronomers by surprise.
> The hole is nearly a billion light-years across. It is not a black
> hole, which is a small sphere of densely packed matter. Rather, this
> one is mostly devoid of stars, gas and other normal matter, and it's
> also strangely empty of the mysterious "dark matter" that permeates
> the cosmos. Other space voids have been found before, but nothing on
> this scale.
> Astronomers don't know why the hole is there.
> "Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even
> expected to find one this size," said researcher Lawrence Rudnick of
> the University of Minnesota.
> Rudnick's colleague Liliya R. Williams also had not anticipated this
> "What we've found is not normal, based on either observational studies
> or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the
> universe," said Williams, also of the University of Minnesota.
> The finding will be detailed in the Astrophysical Journal.
> The universe is populated with visible stars, gas and dust, but most
> of the matter in the universe is invisible. Scientists know something
> is there, because they can measure the gravitational effects of the
> so-called dark matter. Voids exist, but they are typically relatively
> The gargantuan hole was found by examining observations made using the
> Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, funded by the National Science
> There is a "remarkable drop in the number of galaxies" in a region of
> sky in the constellation Eridanus, Rudnick said.
> The region had been previously been dubbed the "WMAP Cold Spot,"
> because it stood out in a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
> radiation made by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotopy Probe (WMAP)
> satellite. The CMB is an imprint of radiation left from the Big Bang,
> the theoretical beginning of the universe.
> "Although our surprising results need independent confirmation, the
> slightly colder temperature of the CMB in this region appears to be
> caused by a huge hole devoid of nearly all matter roughly 6 to 10
> billion light-years from Earth," Rudnick said.
> Photons of the CMB gain a small amount of energy when they pass
> through normal regions of space with matter, the researchers
> explained. But when the CMB passes through a void, the photons lose
> energy, making the CMB from that part of the sky appear cooler.
> --End story.