"I'm so dizzy my head is spinning," sang Tommy Roe in the 1969 bubblegum music tune "Dizzy." Well, according to a recently published paper by the entire universe is spinning. Oh my head!
In a study of over 15,000 galaxies by Michael Longo and co-investigators at the University of Michigan, the researchers report that spiral galaxies preferential spin clockwise or counter clockwise depending what hemisphere of the sky they are in.
Longo sampled over 15,000 galaxies in the extensive Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The galaxies extend out to little more than 600 million light-years from Earth, less than 1/20 the distance to the farthest observed galaxies to date.
Looking northward, above the plane of our Milky Way, he found that more than half of the spirals were spinning in a counterclockwise direction in the sky. This overabundance seems small, only seven percent of the total observed galaxy sample. But the odds of it being purely due to chance are a one in a million say the researchers.
If the whole universe is rotating, then an excess number of galaxies on the opposite part of the sky, below the galactic plane, should be whirling in a clockwise direction. And indeed they are according to a separate 1991 survey of 8287 spiral galaxies in the southern galactic hemisphere.