back to article Space probe spies MYSTERY 'Cold Spot' in very fabric of cosmos itself

Top international boffins poring over a newly-produced sky map of the microwaves released when the entire universe exploded into being out of soup have confessed themselves baffled by a mysterious "cold spot" on the chart whose existence today's science cannot explain. MYSTERY of the cosmic soup blast shine cold spot enigma …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Cold spot?

    Cold spot?

    That'll be the weather system currently working it's way over the UK and Ireland, heralding the start of spring.

  2. Ted Treen

    The cold spots...

    ...could indicate a festival of Vogon poetry...

    1. LarsG

      Re: The cold spots...

      Love poetry, the finest in the Universe.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: The cold spots...

      Could be worse, it could be the Azgoths of Kria

      "Ode to a small lump of green putty I found under my left armpit one midsummer morning" anyone?

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: The cold spots...

        But what about Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings ... ?

  3. Steve Todd

    Must be a crouton

    What else could be floating in hot soup.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must be a crouton

      A rat dropping? Vide Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers...

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Must be a crouton

      Depends. If it's pea-soup (the Dutch way), it won't be so much floating in it as rather lying on top of it. And it won't be a crouton, but a slice of rookworst or a cube of bacon.

      1. et tu, brute?
        Thumb Up

        Re: Must be a crouton

        Hmmm, Dutch pea-soup with rookworst and spek! Now you've made me hungry! And it would really go well with this nice English spring weather!

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: Must be a crouton

          Alright now, so which is the cosmos?! Soup or fabric? I deman... Oh, you said Dutch pea-soup, well in that case I suppose both... Ok, all settled then. Carry on.

    3. Davehhhhh

      Re: Must be a crouton

      I didn't understand how the universe could "explode into being out of soup" anyway.

      I was out of soup at the weekend but it happened non-violently. And how do we know how much soup the universe needs...

      1. Scroticus Canis

        Re: Must be a crouton

        "I didn't understand how the universe could "explode into being out of soup" anyway."

        You have obviously never used a microwave to (over) heat your erte soup (Dutch pea & ham). Even if you haven't pea dashed the innards of the bing-box it can still go ballistic after removal when the steam bubbles finally overcome its viscosity.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Clearly an Eye in the Sky.


    Get your fix in High-Resolution Simulation of the Universe in Exquisite Detail (DEUS-FUR: Dark Energy Universe Simulation - Full Universe Run) HERE and HERE.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      The Planck Data Release is also being LIVE BLOGGED. Those modern scientists!

      In particular, we find:

      Finally, the emphasis on "anomalies" in the media conference and press release seems like headline-bait to me. By and large these were already known from the WMAP data, and are at large angular scales -- where Planck and WMAP should​ overlap with one another. Any dataset has anomalies and by stressing these, the ESA media-monkeys detract from the huge advance this dataset represents. Planck has provided us with a picture of the early universe with unprecedented clarity and precision, and every cosmologist in the world will have to do their job differently on the strength of it. Working out what it tells us may take years, but it is going to be fun.

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          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            The dishwashing universe!

            More on this from Jester at Résonaances:

            I was a bit surprised by how much emphasis in today's press conferences was put on the small glitches at low multipoles. It seems that Planck people are also a bit frustrated the fact that their results are nothing but a triumphant confirmation of old paradigms. Even at the LHC nobody would make a big deal of a 2.5 sigma anomaly, and in the present case we're in the area of astrophysics where errors are treated more loosely ;-) Moreover, according to Planck, the l=2 quadrupole mode of the fluctuation spectrum is aligned with the ecliptic, which suggests some unknown background or pesky systematics at large angular scales. Of course, many a theorist will come up with a beautiful explanation of the low multipole anomaly. But not because it's convincing, but because there's nothing else to ponder on...

            In summary, the cosmological results from Planck are really impressive. We're looking into a pretty wide range of complex physical phenomena occurring billions of years ago. And, at the end of the day, we're getting a perfect description with a fairly simple model. If this is not a moment to cry out "science works bitches", nothing is. Particle physicists, however, can find little inspiration in the Planck results. For us, what Planck has observed is by no means an almost perfect universe... it's rather the most boring universe.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

              And even more dishwasing, doing the laundry etc...

              What The Entire Universe Is Made Of, Thanks to Planck!

              So yes to inflation, no to gravitational waves from it.

              Yes to three very light, standard-model neutrinos, no to any extras.

              Yes to a slightly slower-expanding, older Universe, no to spatial curvature.

              Yes to more dark matter and normal matter, yes also to a little less dark energy.

              And as far as anything bizarre goes? The fluctuations are still very, very much in agreement with what inflation and all known physics predicts, but there’s still that very bizarre alignment of the CMB on the largest angular scales with the plane of our Solar System, known as the axis-of-evil.

  5. NomNomNom

    IF it's cold maybe there is just a load of ice there. Mystery solved.

    1. NomNomNom

      no downvoter no. MYSTERY SOLVED.

    2. Katie Saucey

      "...there is just a load of ice there."

      Yup, it's where the creators kept their cold ones.

  6. Full Mental Jacket

    The cosmic equivalent of a belly button perhaps?

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  7. The last doughnut
    Thumb Up

    Save some monsters for me, please. Downvote expected.

    Excellent observations and well done chaps.

  8. AussieCanuck46

    Best Available Theory

    "So it would seem that the best available theory known to physics can't account for everything: situation pretty much normal for physics, then."

    There we have it; proof positive that the alleged Big Bang is just somebody's idea of a joke. Good thing we got that sorted because it was looking for a while as if some people might actually believe that the Universe is older than 6,000 years.

    My mind's at ease now. I think I'll go read a book.

  9. Tom_

    Uneven expansion?

    "As the Universe has expanded, this light today has been stretched out to microwave wavelengths, equivalent to a temperature of just 2.7 degrees above absolute zero."

    Is the map showing us temperature variations in the early universe, which have now been scaled uniformly by the universe's expansion or is it showing us that the early universe had a uniform temperature, but has expanded unevenly?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Uneven expansion?

      Your first explanation.

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  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ...or is there a similar-sized warm spot a bit to the left?

  11. Francis Boyle

    Universe formed from soup

    I'd always imagined it as more of a lukewarm porridge. Possibly with a tough skin on top.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course there's a cold spot. I'd bet if you carried out the same scan from the diametrically opposite position in the universe that the earth occupies, you'd see another cold spot diamentrically opposite that cold spot.

    It'll be an imprint left on the very fabric of the universe from when God held up the source, (between finger and thumb) and created the big bang. His digits will have blocked some of the initial emissions, hence the cold spot(s).

    That should keep the creationists happy :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Finger and Thumb

      Surely - noodley appendage.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Finger and Thumb

        Or - hand of the Bursar.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Show the Creationists that their own book and teachings says nothing of the sort. That's a better way to stump them. It says "created", it does not say what the tools used were!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Soup, from the microwave?

    It's really simple, the cold spot is in the middle of the bowl where the heat from the microwave energy penetrates last.. Someone took the universe out before it was ready and didn't stir it up much before trying to eat it.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Soup, from the microwave?

      I guess the enormous mutant star goat must have been really hungry...

  14. Rustident Spaceniak

    Cold spot in the soup

    Eeew, that's nasty. Soup, except gazpacho, isn't supposed to be cold.

    So, new task for the world's boffins: Find out the exact recipe! Utensils allowed: Two hadron colliders and a collection of supercomputers. That should keep us Reg readers entertained for a while longer.

  15. Mike Richards Silver badge


    God's left the fridge door open.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge


    Its cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere,

    I'm all alone, more or less.

    Let me fly, far away from here,

    Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

    I want to lie, shipwrecked and comatose,

    Drinking fresh, mango juice,

    Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes,

    Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun,

    Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun.

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    CDMs all round ... for the Fruit and Nut cases*

    Are there actually folk who believe any of that which you have just shared in that article, Lewis P? And does anyone actually care about any of it and think that any of it will make a difference about anything which arrives/happens after now and will shape and phorm every tomorrow?

    What a complete and utter waste of time and effort in space to tell us of something imagined as being real before even anything was anywhere and there was nothing. And aint that the honest truth?

    * Cadbury's Dairy Milk for those who are too young or too old to remember the chocolate ad campaign of some time ago

  18. JeffyPooh

    Here... the moment this spot was created.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Here... the moment this spot was created.

      What do you Lilim know about that? Nothing.

      Study more Dead Sea Scrolls.

      1. JeffyPooh

        Re: Here... the moment this spot was created.

        Study the Scrolls? Meh - I was on the committee that wrote them.

        Hey, how have you been?

  19. Richard Boyce
    Thumb Up

    Absolute reference

    I'm not a physicist, but these anomalies intrigue me.

    Does this mean that the universe as a whole has an absolute reference frame for motion? Are we seeing special relativity breaking down or are we perhaps seeing an unexpected interaction of the microwaves with space in our part of the universe? Could the acceleration due to dark energy be non-uniform?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Absolute reference

      No. Neither. Not impossible, I suppose.

  20. jubtastic1


    Looks like a heat map of a planet, band of heat around the middle, cold bits at the poles, swirls in between.

    Conclusion: universe is orbiting something bigger.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Fractal

      It could be a universe-sized Death Star, and we are INSIDE IT!

      The emperor has gone too far.

    2. illiad

      Re: Fractal


      it is a map of the what is seen from the probe, about 1.5 million KM from the Earth... you need to read the article....

      it is not looking at the stars, but the radiation all round , that is actually 13.82 billion light years away..

  21. Bob Merkin

    Most logical course of action

    Build an FTL ship and launch it directly at the cold spot. Collect data for several million years along the way. It's obviously a signal from before the Big Bang, because I heard about that on a documentary on the SyFy channel a couple of years ago. Robert Carlisle presented it, I believe.

  22. Joey

    Everyone's got it wrong...

    The Universe is just an atom in an even bigger Universe which is, itself, an atom etc, etc.

    Seriously though, the human brain can not comprehend the nature of The Universe and what is 'inside' and 'outside' it much in the way that an earthworm knows little about simple shopkeeping. Much as we try to come up with an answer, including supernatural beings, science 'fiction' and science 'fact'. I really don't think we will ever crack this one. There is a lot of time, but not enough!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Everyone's got it wrong...

      However, it looks like for some reason, we are seriously on the right track, although lots of questions may never be decidable or experimentally verifiable.

      If at the end a mathematical structure pops out that has no free parameters and maps perfectly well to the real world, I would consider this, job done, you can has cake!

      (Yes, I consider Portal a tale on the fight against a psychopathic, sadistic mother nature. And maybe there is a way to get behind the obviously fake theater props that are offered to us)

      See also:

      The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the blow hole ...

    ... where all the matter was blown in to the universe from "outside". If you fire a really big asteroid at it you can knock the plug out, and then we're all forked.

    I mean the universe must be at higher pressure than the "outside" to stay inflated (say, like a bike tyre), and therefore at higher temperature (because higher pressure means higher temperature). The blow hole is sticking out into the cold "outside" and probably has a locally high surface area relative to volume of internal matter, therefore a cooling effect ensues.

    QED ;P

    1. ravenviz

      Re: It's the blow hole ...

      It's the plug in the ebony bath.

  24. GSV Slightly Perturbed

    [Broadcast Eclear, sent 1363902915.4]

    xGSV Slightly Perturbed

    oBOFH Reg Readers

    *coff* Methinks that might be the Dinner Is Ready. I'll inform them that the locals here are getting smarter, and that certain ships might be prudent to get their fat arses out of the way or learn how to shield up properly.

    That or stay vewwy vewwy still, and maybe the natives won't know it's us.

  25. Esskay

    Advanced Boffinry

    At what point does boffinry become advanced?

    1. GSV Slightly Perturbed

      Re: Advanced Boffinry

      [Broadcast Eclear, sent 1363902915.4]

      xGSV Slightly Perturbed

      o(unknown) Esskay

      Day by day in every way.

    2. Crisp

      Re: Advanced Boffinry

      When it becomes rocket science. (Or brain surgery, take your pick)

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Advanced Boffinry

        Rocket surgery must be more difficult.

        I mean, it's not brain science.

  26. Chris Tierney

    Bubble is beginning to burst

    Much like the economic recovery, the universe is a big bubble and what we are seeing is the intergalactic equivalent of a bursting bubble. I recon we should prepare a mix of fairy liquid, water, epoxy & Uranium 235 and launch an intergenerational mission to repair the burst.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. illiad

        Re: Bubble is beginning to burst

        hmm, just FTL wont get you there... Doctor who might get you back in time to see it :)

        If you STILL have not realized, this is LOOKING **back in time** due to it takes that long for the light to get here!!

        now just assume this was possible..

        If you took a spaceship and traveled 100 million light years, then you would see more...

        If you took a spaceship and traveled to that point, 13.82 billion light years away...

        you would see much the same as WE see, on earth... lots of stars , but different constellations... you cannot prove that the universe is limited, because it is impossible to see it all.. I say that

        there are some scientists that believe that if the universe is big enough, the total gravity will cause it to curve into a sphere.. so, if you have that impossible drive that will travel a billion billion light years in a short time, you may find yourself back where you started!!! :)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. R0b07

    I, for one,

    would like to welcome Frosty the snowman as our new overlord, G̶o̶d̶ bless his giant frozen balls.

    mines the one with the mittons on the string hanging out the sleev.

  28. Euripides Pants

    Maybe its a....

    ...Cold Sore!

  29. Martin Budden Silver badge

    It's where God rested His beer.

    And on the second day, He invented coasters.

  30. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Global Communications HQ in Charge with Care of Virtual Machines .....

    ..... and/or a Type Unit 61398 Confection with AIdDelightful Trojan Vessels and Platforms*

    How very nice to have it confirmed by El Reg commentards that there are Others in A.N.Others and much more intelligent life phorms out there, and over here and in everywhere, to take and make over executive power and applicable control of the universe with Global Operating Devices Programming for Creative CyberSpace Command and Control of Computers and Communications.

    And that statement of fact to answer with procurement to ...... well, if it doesn't compute with Iain Lobban and the cowgirls and boys in the wild wacky west, are there always the attractions and temptations of the exotic erotic east to sample and enjoy and supply with the sublime provision of surreal goodies for we're all in IT together, don't you know.

    *Master PilotedD CyberSpace Station with Future Deliveries of Beta News with Fab Views.

    Oh, and before anyone not au fait with Systems Feed Seed Needs says anything silly, to expose themselves as being the lesser of beings than one can imagine them being but presuming they are not in worlds where hope springs eternal and dreams are granted, you might like to read this tall tale which presumably is the gospel truth to be accepted undisputed ..... Oddballs Wanted:-)

    IT takes spooks kudos to a whole new weird wireless level ...... :-)

  31. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Any face in the picture yet?

    How long until someone massages the heat map colorisation and rotates it so that we see a human face in it? That should freak out some people!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    the cold spot is down to the microwaves being blocked by systems enclosed in Dyson Spheres. Whatever we do, we must not go there and let out the Primes. Keep Morning Light Mountain locked up.

  33. Bartlomiej Kochan



    Maybe it is the centre of the BBang from which the hot soup ran "outwards" creating cooler , emptier space.


    Might it be possible to confirm the picture by analyzing the dirty-white noise in analog TVs ?

  34. Blitheringeejit

    This map would be easier to relate to if ...

    ... the boffins had included a little arrow indicating "You will be here".

  35. mhenriday

    Thanks, Lewis -

    now I'm waiting for your coming article demonstrating that this cold spot in the Universe around 13.4 thousand million years ago shows conclusively that global warming (on Earth) is a hoax....


  36. TeeCee Gold badge


    You know that thing about letting the genie out of the bottle?

    That's where the cork was......

  37. The Grump


    Get the Global Warming folks to believe that the cold spot is the proof they need, get them aboard a hastily cobbled together spaceship, and sent them on their way. Once launch is initiated, program the computers to forget where earth is, and voila, you get rid a a useless third of the population in one shot.

    Yeah, the bucket o bolts rocket will cost the entire GDP for the year, but it's so worth it.

  38. roger stillick

    BIG Bang = Big Fooey ??

    Was an AT7T Microwave Tech when the 2.7 degree thingy was just the average temperature of the Universe... Who cares ?? it was just the lowest level our Masers couldn't get past for Comm stuff... Then they announced the Big Bang, and we all went Oh Boy, What a Reach... then we got the Size and Age of everything neatly packaged...

    One Really Small Problem... The end of Nasa's IR telescope provided a 7 year WMAP hi-rez pix color coded from zero to 20 degrees... and an exception file of many areas that went to ZERO...the horror !!... this is just 1 of many...

    Q= is the big bang the big splat or have we been on a 50 year jag into buying the validity of a theory ??

    caveiat, I'm need for a big bang and a big death...endless and forever is Troublesome to some...RS.

  39. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge

    But what about....

    Were those scientists not wearing their glasses? Shouldn't we be investigating that white oval? I can hear Jennifer Rush singing "Ring of Ice" already...

    Must admit I have no idea what we're looking at. If I were to take a picture of my left bum It would look similar -- except for the oval perhaps. If I look at that picture it looks like there is a hot-spot just to the lower-left of the cold spot. Insulation could be damaged?

  40. Philius

    I wrote a blog about the "big bang" -

    I don't know why they're still calling it a "bang".

    If we're still receiving emissions from the birth of the universe then it must mean that the bang took as long as we've been able to measure the radiation - more than 50 years isn't a bang, not even a thud.

    At the "start" of the universe I'm in a room the size of an atom where the walls are covered in lights and I have to race away fast enough so that the room's big enough and the light from the walls is only reaching me now.

    No, no, men in white coats - I'm a physicist! A physicist!

  41. roger stillick
    Thumb Up

    32 reports and they are Troubling...

    Plank 2013 results span 32 reports... they cross checked with WMAP 9... and sure enough, most of the 17 anomalies in WMAP 7 were still there, just more complex= the letters SH in zero emission were troubling, as is the big hole of zero emission...other areas exhibited periodic changes in emission levels of up to +3,-3 degrees...Troubling...

    IMHO= new data will rewrite science, as it has always has...some find the future troubling, I do not...RS

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  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's where they tied the knot ...

    The Expanding Universe

  43. lforsley

    Origin of the "spot on the Universe"

    It is a belly button originating with the birth of the Universe. Can you imagine birth without a belly button, unless you're either a reptile or a bird? Since we've not found the shell (holographic universe boffins not withstanding), QED: belly button.

    Regrettably, the limited amount of matter in the universe maybe nothing more than lint.

  44. ravenviz

    microwave wavelengths, equivalent to a temperature of just 2.7 degrees above absolute zero

    How come my microwave heats baked beans hotter than the sun?

  45. Cubical Drone

    That settles it!!

    The cold spot obviously proves the the non-existence of universal warming.

  46. Tzismisce

    Saw this on the telly

    I remember seeing a show that explained that regular deformations of the structure of the universe may reflect impaction with another universe...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pricey BS

    Ever notice how astronomy is the one branch of science when if they run up against something unknown, rather than admitting it, they descend into baby talk describing primordial space as a 'soup' or describing nebula dust clouds as 'star nurseries'. When you hear that kind of language you know they have left the realm of science and have entered the land of baby talk BS.

  48. Trustme

    Stargate found it first.....

    The initial revelation about this came not long after an episode of Stargate Universe was aired that revealed the ancients had found something significant in the CMB. Then Stargate Universe got cancelled. Coincidence? Well of course it is but it's still something for conspiracy theroists to get their teeth into! :)

  49. Scott Pedigo

    OK, so the light is 13+ billion years old. It was emitted when the universe was much smaller. So there is this ball of soup, expanding, and at a certain point it has expanded far enough to cool off sufficiently for some subatomic particles to combine into atoms, emitting a certain spectral pattern, which we can now detect, red-shifted. Can somebody 'splain me where those photons have been travelling for the last 13 billion years? I mean, in all that time, they haven't been absorbed by anything or we wouldn't be seeing them now. But when they were emitted, the universe was small, say only a few hundred light-years across versus the current, what, 26 billion? So if I imagine a light-emitting ball of soup, the radiation that is going radially outward is an ever expanding wave front, going away from the matter of the ball, which now includes us. The light that got emitted in the other directions, like back toward the center of the ball, could only travel for a few hundred light years without going out the other side. So, what... the light has been going around in circles?

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