Big hole wasn't there, it seems

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Last year Rudnick et al thought they saw a big hole in the sky, a billion lightyears wide.

It had some galaxies in it, they said, but significantly fewer than equalsize volumes in other parts of the sky.

That was around November 2007. There was some silly talk about it's being the "gateway to another universe", and it suited some people's "multiverse" ideas. The NewScientist had a coverstory about it.

Kendrick Smith at Cambridge says that the notion of a void probably resulted from inadequate statistical analysis. He and Dragan Huterer have found regions of higher-than-average density contained within the supposed "hole". They are getting a paper ready to submit to the Monthly Notices of RAS.

David Spergel at Princeton has given Smith and Huterer's work a nod of approval. Spergel is a WMAP chief and the lead author of many of the official WMAP reports. Authority and professional consensus do NOT ultimately decide scientific truth, right? But they can be useful straws in the wind. I'd guess this particular gateway to another universe is destined for the dump. If any corroboration turns up later, please tell me about it. Love to be wrong :biggrin:
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  • #2
Here is the said paper:

No evidence for the cold spot in the NVSS radio survey
Authors: Kendrick M. Smith, Dragan Huterer
(Submitted on 18 May 2008)

Abstract: We revisit recent claims that there is a "cold spot" in both number counts and brightness of radio sources in the NVSS survey, with location coincident with the previously detected cold spot in WMAP. Such matching cold spots would be difficult if not impossible to explain in the standard LCDM cosmological model. Contrary to the claim, we find no significant evidence for the radio cold spot, after including systematic effects in NVSS, and carefully accounting for the effect of a posteriori choices when assessing statistical significance.
  • #3
I agree, cristo. A lengthy stream of random numbers will inevitably produce statistically improbable sequences. The 'a posteriori' objection is well founded.
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  • #4
Looks like this issue isn't resolved yet, have a look at" [Broken] paper which has looked at a great number of hot and cold spots and their relationships to voids and clusters seen in the Sloan Digitial Sky Survey. They claim there is a highly significant correlation, for these spots in general, including the 'extreme Cold Spot' under question in this thread.

It doesn't say where the paper is submitted too, but looks to be in the Nature format. That would be odd though, since Nature doesn't permit you to post to arXiv before publication. In any case it's clear that this is a tricky question that may be debated for a while yet!
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1. How did the big hole appear?

The big hole was most likely formed through a process called erosion, where wind, water, or ice gradually wear away at the land. It could also be the result of a sinkhole, which is caused by the collapse of underground rock or soil layers.

2. Is the big hole dangerous?

It depends on the location and size of the hole. If it is in a populated area or near structures, it could pose a danger to people and property. It is important to exercise caution and avoid getting too close to the edge of the hole.

3. Can the big hole be filled in or repaired?

In some cases, it may be possible to fill in the hole with soil or other materials. However, if the hole is caused by natural processes such as erosion, it may continue to grow and filling it in may not be a long-term solution. It is best to consult with experts to determine the best course of action.

4. Is the big hole a natural occurrence or was it caused by humans?

While some holes may be caused by human activities such as mining or drilling, many big holes are formed through natural processes. It is important to research the specific location and history of the hole to determine its cause.

5. Can the big hole affect the environment?

Yes, the big hole can have an impact on the environment. It may disrupt natural ecosystems and can potentially lead to changes in water flow and soil stability. It is important to monitor and address any environmental effects of the big hole.

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