Starts With A Bang

Ask Ethan #48: Where does cosmic rotation come from? (Synopsis)

Image credit: Fermilab / DOE / Dark Energy camera; Dark Energy Survey.

“In my better sense of mind, I know that I’m far from alone and far from the worst, and the earth keeps spinning. Everything keeps moving, with or without me.” –Phil Anselmo

The Universe is a chaotic place, where nothing truly exists in isolation. Even if, at the moment of the Big Bang, nothing in the Universe was born having had any interactions with anything else, that state wouldn’t have lasted for long.

Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration.

Even the most pristine “baby picture” of the Universe we have comes only after astronomical numbers of interactions for each and every particle, and gravitation is the most guilty culprit in it all. From individual particles to atoms to planets to solar systems to galaxies and more, everything seems to rotate, but if the Universe was born without any intrinsic rotation, where does this phenomenon come from?

Image credit: Gemini South telescope / GMOS, the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph.

It’s the story of cosmic rotation on this week’s Ask Ethan!