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The Sciences

Hubble Weighs In: CSL-1 Not a Cosmic String

Cosmic VarianceBy Mark TroddenJanuary 12, 2006 11:55 PM

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There has been some excitement in the cosmology and string theory communities recently regarding the observation of a pair of images (optimistically named CSL-1), with characteristics and separation such that they are candidates to arise from a single object lensed by a cosmic string. If this interpretation held up it would have deep and far ranging implications for our understanding of fundamental physical laws, implying either a field theory phase transition at high energies or that it is possible for some superstrings from the early universe to remain macroscopic. The only way to get a real check of the status of CSL-1 was to get a good look at it with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and my postdoc Levon Pogosian just forwarded an email to me, informing him that the HST observations of CSL-1 are now in and that it is not a cosmic string, but rather merely a pair of interacting elliptical galaxies sitting in a rather faint cluster. Here's what I think is the HST image

csl1.jpg

Oh well, I imagine the search will continue.

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