Thursday, 5 January 2017

anisotrophy or 45-rpm

I can vaguely recall how about five years ago it was the done thing to suggest that the Universe might be rotating—about what axis and relative to what being unanswerable questions—although I was never sure to what ends exactly, what individuals hoped to accomplish by sticking a reference point on the Cosmos.
Perhaps it was to preserve the symmetry of rotation from atoms to planets and galaxies or perhaps it was sort of to explain the Doppler effect—I could never quite tell though it always struck me as intriguing if not impossible to test, and reminded me of the story in the Middle Earth’s legendarium how it went in the Third Age from a flat planet to a globe so the Undying Lands would become inaccessible to mortals. Now revisiting the question, we find that astrophysicists can reasonably infer that the Universe is indeed directionless, uniform (from a sufficiently broad perspective) and stationary thanks to a recent battery of tests and observations that preserves our present understanding of cosmology, but it makes me wonder if we postulated a spinning Universe what might be different and supercilious. Would we need dark matter and dark energy (for which there’s little in the way of a satisfactory explanation) if the ability to hold it all together could be accounted for by angular momentum—that is, the Universe keeping itself balanced, like a ice-skater spinning and bringing her arms inward to twirl faster, or like a phonographic record on a turntable whose edge is sweeping out greater spaces at a faster rate than at its centre? Would the background of spacetime be something else entirely if not immobile?