For over 20 years, the term `cosmic web' has guided our understanding of the large-scale arrangement of matter in the cosmos, accurately evoking the concept of a network of galaxies linked by filaments. But the physical correspondence between the cosmic web and structural engineering or textile `spiderwebs' is even deeper than previously known, and also extends to origami tessellations. Here, we explain that in a good structure-formation approximation known as the adhesion model, threads of the cosmic web form a spiderweb, i.e. can be strung up to be entirely in tension. The correspondence is exact if nodes sampling voids are included, and if structure is excluded within collapsed regions (walls, filaments and haloes), where dark-matter multistreaming and baryonic physics affect the structure. We also suggest how concepts arising from this link might be used to test cosmological models: for example, to test for large-scale anisotropy and rotational flows in the cosmos.
Royal Society Open Science
- Pub Date:
- April 2018
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Computer Science - Computational Geometry;
- Physics - Popular Physics
- Accepted to Royal Society Open Science. See illustrative adhesion-model Python notebook: https://github.com/jhidding/adhesion-example/tree/master/notebook and interactive spiderweb-design Python notebook: https://github.com/neyrinck/sectional-tess, runnable without installation at https://mybinder.org/v2/gh/neyrinck/sectional-tess/master