Dr. Mike Hudson

Universe ‘does not expand uniformly’

Photo of Mike Hudson in office

Mike Hudson thinks big. No, bigger. His research on cosmic flows in the universe is expected to bring a new understanding of the origin of structure in the universe.

A professor in Waterloo’s physics and astronomy department, Hudson studies the formation of galaxies and measures the properties of dark matter and dark energy through gravitational lending, cosmic flows, and large-scale structure. He has discovered that our part of the universe — out to a distance of 400 million light years — is not expanding uniformly in all directions as expected. It’s expanding faster in one half of the sky than in the other.

It's as if, in addition to the expansion, our 'neighbourhood' in the universe has an extra kick in a certain direction," he says. "We expected the expansion to become more uniform on increasingly larger scales, but that's not what we found."

Hudson was recently quoted in Science Now Daily News discussing the related findings of a research team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The NASA team independently found that 700 distant clusters of galaxies are all being pulled in the same direction. It's an intriguing finding, Hudson says. He adds that the direction of the flow agrees with that of his team's own discoveries.

If these new results hold up, he says,"then theorists will certainly have to make some major revisions to the standard cosmological model."

Brian McNamara, a University Research Chair in physics at Waterloo, says Hudson is finding that much of the matter in the nearby universe moves as an ensemble at a surprisingly high speed.

If the work he and others are doing is confirmed, it will require a major revision in the way we think the universe came into being and how it evolved."