Authors of a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy reanalyzed a data set from the Planck space telescope and concluded that it supports a closed universe. This runs counter to the prevailing belief that the universe is flat. The issue critically depends on the universe’s density. If it exceeds a certain critical density, gravity would force the cosmos to close in on itself. Other scientists question whether this new reading of the data could be attributable to statistical fluctuations or a yet unidentified error. “Time will tell,” says cosmologist Will Kinney, adding that other such data anomalies “have proven to be vapor.”

Key Takeaways:

  • A new study published in a scientific journal suggests that the universe is more like a sphere, and less like a plane.
  • Researchers used data from a Planck telescope to measure background radiation, and it supported the spherical notion of the universe.
  • The idea of a spherical universe is very controversial, and many scientists argued that the findings were a fluke.

“provocative paper published today in the journal Nature Astronomy argues that the universe may curve around and close in on itself like a sphere, rather than lying flat like a sheet of paper as the standard theory of cosmology predicts.”

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