Uncanny Alignment Across Billions of Light Years

Quasars are Galaxies with incredibly massive Black Holes at their centre.  These Black Holes are fuelled by a swirling disc of material that can be ejected in a long jet along their axis of rotation, all due to the conservation of angular momentum.  This accretion disc can be so hot that it causes the central region of the Galaxy to shine more brightly than the entire Galaxy of stars surrounding it.

A Belgian team using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) studied a population of 93 Quasars spread over Billions of Light-Years, and noticed that the rotation axes of the Quasars were aligned with each other, even though they were so immensely far apart.  They probed further, and discovered that the rotation axes also aligned with the large-scale structure of the Universe.

Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

When we look at the large scale of the Universe over Billions of Light-Years, we see that Galaxies are not evenly distributed.  They are clumped together in a cosmic web of filaments with vast empty regions in between.  The team performing the study found that the rotation axes of the quasars lined up with the direction of the filaments where they were located.

Now you might be saying “Well there are Billions of Galaxies in the Universe, shouldn’t this happen by sheer chance?”

That’s exactly what the Astronomers said, but they have estimated that the probability of this kind of alignment is less than 1%.

These alignments could mean that Astronomers are missing a key concept in models of the early Universe.  Perhaps we are close, but just need a few tweaks to accurately model the Cosmos.

 

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