Largest Rotating Structures in the Universe Discovered – Fantastic Cosmic Filaments Where Galaxies Are Relatively Just Specs of Dust

Cosmic Spin Filaments

Artist’s impression of cosmic filaments: huge bridges of galaxies and dark matter connect clusters of galaxies to each other. Galaxies are funneled on corkscrew like orbits towards and into large clusters that sit at their ends. Their light appears blue-shifted when they move towards us, and red-shifted when they move away. Credit: AIP/ A. Khalatyan/ J. Fohlmeister

By mapping the motion of galaxies in huge filaments that connect the cosmic web, astronomers at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), in collaboration with scientists in China and Estonia, have found that these long tendrils of galaxies spin on the scale of hundreds of millions of light years. A rotation on such enormous scales has never been seen before. The results published in Nature Astronomy signify that angular momentum can be generated on unprecedented scales.

Cosmic filaments are huge bridges of galaxies and dark matter that connect clusters of galaxies to each other. They funnel galaxies towards and into large clusters that sit at their ends. “By mapping the motion of galaxies in these huge cosmic superhighways using the Sloan Digital Sky survey – a survey of hundreds of thousands of galaxies – we found a remarkable property of these filaments: they spin.” says Peng Wang, first author of the now published study and astronomer at the AIP.

“Despite being thin cylinders – similar in dimension to pencils – hundreds of millions of light years long, but just a few million light years in diameter, these fantastic tendrils of matter rotate,” adds Noam Libeskind, initiator of the project at the AIP. “On these scales the galaxies within them are themselves just specs of dust. They move on helixes or corkscrew like orbits, circling around the middle of the filament while travelling along it. Such a spin has never been seen before on such enormous scales, and the implication is that there must be an as yet unknown physical mechanism responsible for torquing these objects.”

How the angular momentum responsible for the rotation is generated in a cosmological context is one of the key unsolved problems of cosmology. In the standard model of structure formation, small overdensities present in the early universe grow via gravitational instability as matter flows from under to overdense regions. Such a potential flow is irrotational or curl-free: there is no primordial rotation in the early universe. As such any rotation must be generated as structures form.

The cosmic web in general and filaments, in particular, are intimately connected with galaxy formation and evolution. They also have a strong effect on galaxy spin, often regulating the direction of how galaxies and their dark matter halos rotate. However, it is not known whether the current understanding of structure formation predicts that filaments themselves, being uncollapsed quasi-linear objects, should spin.

“Motivated by the suggestion from the theorist Dr. Mark Neyrinck that filaments may spin, we examined the observed galaxy distribution, looking for filament rotation,” says Noam Libeskind. “It’s fantastic to see this confirmation that intergalactic filaments rotate in the real Universe, as well as in computer simulation.” By using a sophisticated mapping method, the observed galaxy distribution was segmented into filaments. Each filament was approximated by a cylinder.

Galaxies within it were divided into two regions on either side of the filament spine (in projection) and the mean redshift difference between the two regions was carefully measured. The mean redshift difference is a proxy for the velocity difference (the Doppler shift) between galaxies on the receding and approaching side of the filament tube. It can thus measure the filament’s rotation.

The study implies that depending on the viewing angle and end point mass, filaments in the universe show a clear signal consistent with rotation.

Reference: “Possible observational evidence for cosmic filament spin” by Peng Wang, Noam I. Libeskind, Elmo Tempel, Xi Kang and Quan Guo, 14 June 2021, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01380-6

11 Comments on "Largest Rotating Structures in the Universe Discovered – Fantastic Cosmic Filaments Where Galaxies Are Relatively Just Specs of Dust"

  1. BibhutibhusanPatel | June 16, 2021 at 9:31 am | Reply

    Galaxies rotate around their axes.This torque is produced due to exchange of mòmentum between them.One cylinderical filament represent one direction in which part of galaxìes where momentum outflows to a galaxy has red shìft below the mean value showing velocity to be likely low than average (còrresponds to the radical galaxy under cònsìdeŕation)and ĺikely momentum is received by radical galaxy from every one galaxy having red shìft mòre than the mean vaĺue are moving with higher veĺocìty.Sò the TORQUE is determined.The momentum is created from the force of gŕavity through simultaneòus partial consèrsion to magnetism while driving source ofenergy for this is the kind of dark energy.Thanks to the authors for detection of rotating filaments having gaĺaxìès with red shìfts.

  2. BibhutibhusanPatel | June 16, 2021 at 9:40 am | Reply

    Galaxies rotate around their axes.This torque is produced due to exchange of mòmentum between them.One cylinderical filament represent one direction in which part of galaxìes where momentum outflows to a galaxy has red shìft below the mean value showing velocity to be likely low than average (còrresponds to the radical galaxy under cònsìdeŕation)and ĺikely momentum is received by radical galaxy from every one galaxy having red shìft mòre than the mean vaĺue are moving with higher veĺocìty.Sò the TORQUE is determined.The momentum is created from the force of gŕavity through simultaneòus partial consèrsion to magnetism while driving source ofenergy for this is the kind of dark energy.Thanks to the authors for detection of rotating filaments having gaĺaxìès with red shìfts.The kinetic energy of a galaxy is converted to the dark energy feeded by a fraction of it from heat and other formss transformed to gravity.

  3. BibhutibhusanPatel | June 16, 2021 at 9:51 am | Reply

    Galaxies rotate around their axes.This torque is produced due to exchange of mòmentum between them.One cylinderical filament represent one direction in which part of galaxìes where momentum outflows to a galaxy has red shìft below the mean value showing velocity to be likely low than average (còrresponds to the radical galaxy under cònsìdeŕation)and ĺikely momentum is received by radical galaxy from every one galaxy having red shìft mòre than the mean vaĺue are moving with higher veĺocìty.Sò the TORQUE is determined.The momentum is created from the force of gŕavity through simultaneòus partial consèrsion to magnetism while driving source ofenergy for this is the kind of dark energy.Thanks to the authors for detection of rotating filaments having gaĺaxìès with red shìfts.The kinetic energy of a galaxy is converted to the dark energy feeded by a fraction of it from heat and other formss transformed to gravity.Though works of research are in progress so observàtional facts of the super massive black hòle at the centre of our galaxy milky way are assimilated to draw concĺusiòns.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson | June 16, 2021 at 1:06 pm | Reply

    This caught the interest of an astrophysicist, so there is already more – and simple to read – background here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2021/06/15/did-we-just-find-the-largest-rotating-thing-in-the-universe/?sh=3fad8e191b1b .

    I’ll quote the key points (at length):

    “The Universe, for whatever reason, doesn’t appear to have an overall spin or rotation to it, and doesn’t appear to be revolving around anything else. Similarly, the largest observed cosmic structures don’t appear to be spinning, rotating, or revolving around any other structures. But recently, a new study appears to be challenging that, claiming that enormous cosmic filaments — the strands of the cosmic web — appear to be rotating about the filamentary axis itself. This is weird, for sure, but can we explain it? Let’s find out.”

    “As long as your Universe, and the structures in it, continue to expand, these rotational or spinning modes will decay away. But there’s a rule that’s even more fundamental: the law of conservation of angular momentum. Just like a spinning figure skater can increase their rate of rotation by bringing their arms and legs in (or can decrease it by moving their arms and legs out), the rotation of large-scale structures will diminish so long as the structures expand, but once they get pulled in under their own gravity, that rotation speeds up again.”

    “However, even if the Universe were born with no angular momentum anywhere at all, it’s an inevitability that the structures that form on all cosmic scales (except, perhaps, the extreme largest ones of all) will start spinning, rotating, and even revolving around one another. The reason for this is a physical phenomenon we’re all familiar with, but in a different context: tides.”

    “And just like every action has an equal an opposite reaction, whenever one object pulls on another to create a torque, that equal and opposite force will create a torque on that first object as well.”

    “This means that planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, and even, in theory, entire cosmic filaments from the cosmic web should, at least sometimes, experience rotational motions. On larger scales, however, there should be no overall rotation, as there are no larger bound structures in the Universe. This is precisely what the latest study sought to measure, and precisely what they found. For individual filaments, they couldn’t see anything, but when they took thousands of filaments together, the rotational effects clearly showed up.”

    “Why are they rotating, however? Is it something that can truly be explained by tidal torques and nothing else? The early evidence points to “yes,” as the presence of large masses near the filaments — what cosmologists identify as “haloes” — seems to intensify the rotation. As the authors note, “the more massive the haloes that sit at either end of the filaments, the more rotation is detected,” consistent with gravitational torques inducing these motions.”

  5. Ok, so it appears many cosmologists have misunderstood gravity for about a century, since the general theory. Universal acceleration or angular momentum is a neutral force, that both attracts locally around clumps of matter, and repels universally at larger distances. The universe has no propensity to collapse to an infinitely dense point, but has a propensity to produce fractal spheroids and pinwheel and tubular vortices of energy and matter, where gravity collapses at the centroid or central axis to zero gravity, not infinite density. The outer 2D thin shell curved boundary event horizon of a universe would be infinitely dense, and distant galaxies nearer the even horizon are red-shifted. Could an observer in a spherical universe or tell whether there universe was expanding outward into nothing, or gravitationally collapsing toward a zero-gravity centroid? What do gyroscopes point too, and what is inertia and momentum, without a gravitating outer boundary infinitely thin shell pulling on it? Mach’s principle, how does it work without the universe being spherical? To a spherical Planck volume, a proton is a small universe?

    After seeing these filaments and the filaments in our galactic center surrounding our centroid black hole, we should perhaps re-consider Tesla coils, capacitors and Tesla’s ideas about an electric universe more seriously? Just add acceleration radiation to the electromagnetic radiation as they both travel at light speed and are entangled. Perhaps Tesla’s genius can be resurrected from his cheap New York hotel lonely existence, as he was treated poorly by his scientific peers toward the end of his life.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | June 17, 2021 at 12:37 pm | Reply

      What is “general theory”? Cosmologists use the general theory of relativity to describe gravity, which has passed all tests thrown at it. Including this new gravity constrained behavior described in the article.

      At the same time proposed alternatives have failed miserably.

      “Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity
      New observations of extreme astrophysical systems have “brutally and pitilessly murdered” attempts to replace Einstein’s general theory of relativity.”
      [ https://www.quantamagazine.org/troubled-times-for-alternatives-to-einsteins-theory-of-gravity-20180430/ ]

      And you don’t even manage to propose any evidence against the reigning theory. You think the current inflationary hot big bang cosmology suggests the universe is localised to an identifiable “center”, which is a myth [“Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About The Big Bang”, Forbes], and that it can have a singularity, which it can’t [“What Came First: Inflation Or The Big Bang?”, Forbes].

      “An inflating Universe doesn’t begin in a singularity like a matter-dominated or radiation-dominated Universe does.”

  6. Oh no, you fully misunderstand my post. It’s all about the general theory of relativity being valid, with space time curvature, surrounding or being in proximity to matter and energy. But, both local gravity, and the universal acceleration, appear to be one in the same thing, as per the equivalence principle, and as per his self-described biggest blunder, the cosmological constant. Black holes only anchor matter nearby, they are a part of the larger universal acceleration, and filaments as we see now.

    The comment above is about other physicists misinterpreting the general theory of relativity and perhaps quantum gravity. Where are all the spin 2 gravitons? Why would universal acceleration particles be spin 2 in any case, as universal anti-gravity acceleration overwhelms all the black holes being carried along in the filament (and other) currents with it? Recent Planck satellite results have inferred a curved spacetime out toward the CMB?

    The electromagnetic force is much stronger than gravity, and recent results, the mapping of the Milky Way center in proximity to its black hole, have inferred very strong magnetic fields and light years long filaments of matter and energy also, streaming both away from and toward the nodes. Universal acceleration radiation is a push and pull, as per Feynman’s sticky bead idea, it can do work at distance as can a laser beam, and travels at the constant speed of light, as per Ligo findings. As per the equivalence principle, acceleration waves can be called gravity waves, Ligo and the larger earth and everyone on it were all both compressed and stretched. The lasers and our sunlight were also a bit red shifted and blue shifted as the acceleration wave passed, miniscule electric currents were induced in wires, and time both sped up and slowed down as the wave passed.

    Full support for The General Theory here, but it’s believed we can take it further, be taken down to smaller sizes than perhaps the status quo thinks, and to larger sizes too, thinking about event horizons and spheres, as we live in a 3D universe where time spools out for sub-light observers, but not for light-speed phenomena? For example, a photon and “gravity wave” and any packets of acceleration particles that comprise it see the universe at light speed, instantaneously, from that viewpoint they’d be as big as the universe, as at light spped they take no time to cross it? Photons everywhere too, always seem to know when to appear out of “nowhere” when two electrons approach each other for example, as shown in Feynman diagrams, don’t they?

    Obviously we all are still learning, as new information comes in from multiple research sources, a strongly electromagnetic filamentary universe with spinning tendrils of matter and energy is quite different, more organized, than say a big homogeneous pool of random particles spreading like dye in water, re: the entropy situation? The recently mapped cosmic web of many, millions of light years long filaments, punctuated by galactic and black hole nodes is notable, as it looks more like neural networks in a large intelligent mammalian brain rather than a featureless pool of water with spreading dye? That would be some pattern recognition in action here?

    Could an observer in a curved spacetime tell whether their universe was expanding outward or collapsing inward? Or are the phenomena relative and equivalent? The good professor Albert E. was a big fan of Ernst Mach and his principle too, which still has not been codified yet? It’s (the gyroscopic effect, inertia and momentum) still up in the air as to the root cause? Pun intended!

    Please astronomers and cosmologists, keep feeding us curious and wondering people more data! It appears that electromagnetic effects in the larger universe have been missed that are coming to light now, made more clear, at M87, in our own galactic centroid but two examples, as the measurement equipment observation of their phenomena becomes higher resolution and more focused.

    The main historical point was, Tesla did believe in a larger electric universe, and it’s not sure here he fully dismissed Galileo’s, Newton’s or Einstein’s gravity and acceleration. He was treated poorly though by his peers and patrons toward the end of his days, it’s been read. Not having been there this writer can’t confirm or deny if this was true or fake news. Faith was put in the biographer’s account of Tesla’s journey as a fellow human on the surface of our spinning and very round planet.

    • Torbjörn Larsson | June 20, 2021 at 6:15 am | Reply

      You describe the general theory of relativity in a way that is erroneous – “neutral force … repels” – in a cosmological context where its application implies the universe must expand according to the imner energy state. That is different from understanding general relativity as it is. And then you add quantum field gravity, at which point you must consider space curvature as mathematical tools anaologous to how vector field lines are such, yet different.

      “Similar remarks apply to gravitation, which I think has led to a new perspective on general relativity. Why in the world should anyone take seriously Einstein’s original theory, with just the Einstein–Hilbert action in which only two derivatives act on metric fields? Surely that’s just the lowest order term in an infinite series of terms with more and more derivatives. In such a theory, loops are made finite by counterterms provided by the higher-order terms in the Lagrangian. This point of view has been actively pursued by Donoghue and his collaborators.”

      [“On the development of effective field theory”, Steven Weinberg, 2021]

      “General relativity fits naturally into this effective field theory framework (Donoghue, 1994).”

      [ http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Quantum_gravity_as_a_low_energy_effective_field_theory ]

      Why gravitons of a quantum particle tensor field theory must have spin-2 was shown by the same Weinberg [in a paper that I can find for you if you want, but it is a very technical paper] – I’m not sure why that is an issue for filament rotation. Same goes with inapplicable philosophical ideas such as those of Mach [Wikipedia: “an imprecise hypothesis”]. The reason why the universe as well as the cosmic web do not rotate is because inflation expansion effectively drowns it out and the reason why there is angular momentum in the first place is again inflation making the universe isotropic (sam in all directions) so Noether’s theorem applies with it as “charge”.

      • Torbjörn Larsson | June 20, 2021 at 6:17 am | Reply

        Oy! ” to the imner energy state. That is different from understanding general relativity as it is. And then you add quantum field gravity, at which point you must consider space curvature as mathematical tools anaologous to how vector field lines are such, yet different.”

        Replace with:

        … to the inner energy state. That is different from understanding general relativity as it is. And then you add quantum field gravity, at which point you must consider space curvature as mathematical tools analogous to how vector field lines are such, yet more different.

      • Torbjörn Larsson | June 20, 2021 at 6:21 am | Reply

        The last part also got distorted by an erroneous cut and paste.

        Replace:
        “The reason why the universe as well as the cosmic web do not rotate is because inflation expansion effectively drowns it out and the reason why there is angular momentum in the first place is again inflation making the universe isotropic (sam in all directions) so Noether’s theorem applies with it as “charge”.”

        With:

        The reason why the universe as well as the cosmic web do not rotate is because inflation expansion effectively drowns it out. And the reason why there is angular momentum in the first place is again inflation making the universe isotropic (sam in all directions) so Noether’s theorem applies with it as “charge”. Is there anything else that needs explanation here? GR (and its quantum field theory) works in tests however much non-empirical philosophers wants to add whistles and bells?

  7. John C Bayer | June 18, 2021 at 4:06 pm | Reply

    The Curse of the English Major strikes again: AFAIK the word should be *specks* of dust.

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