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No. 20: Mar-Apr 1982

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A BIG VOID IN SPACE OR A DEFECTIVE YARDSTICK?

R. Kirshner and colleagues have discovered an immense void almost completely devoid of galaxies. Smaller voids have been found in other surveys of the heavens, but this one is too big to explain away in terms of random variations in galaxy distribution. Kirshner et al carefully measured galactic redshifts in three widely separated regions of the sky and found almost no galaxies in the redshift velocity interval 12,000 to 18,000 km/sec in all three areas. One interpretation of this huge gap is that the initial post-Big-Bang distribution of matter in the universe was unexpectedly lumpy. A further problem arising is that such a large void should show up as a blip in the 3K cosmic background radiation -- but it doesn't.

(Anonymous; "Deep Redshift Survey of Galaxies Suggests MillionMPC3 Void," Physics Today, 35:17, January 1982.)

Comment. A less popular possibility is that galaxy redshifts do not measure distance at all and that no void exists.

Reference. Cosmic voids are cataloged at AWB3 in Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. For ordering information, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #20, MAR-APR 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss