Imagine a draft of air, moving dust balls around you. The draft is invisible, but you can see its effect on the dust balls. Now imagine that the dust balls are galaxy clusters, and the draft is a powerful, gravity-like force that can’t be explained by existing theories. That force, newly discovered by a team of NASA astrophysicists, has been named dark flow, and it’s pulling entire galaxies out of our universe — and into the unknown.
The scientists discovered dark flow by tracking fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — microwave energy, scattered throughout space, that can be used to map and track galaxy clusters. A new CMB map showed a “strong and coherent bulk flow” of galaxies being pulled at 2 million mph toward a particular patch of sky. The pull is so powerful that it led the scientists to posit entirely new structures that are even denser than black holes (warps in space-time are one candidate), and that lie, um, er, outside the universe, in a place where time, stars, galaxies, and space as we know it no longer exist.
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