Holy crap, Batman, the universe may not be quite the same in all directions!
Actually, this finding (if correct) is not necessarily very disruptive for current cosmological theory. The cosmological principle is a simplifying assumption that makes it possible to more easily derive equations, using general relativity, that describe the evolution of the universe. These equations do a pretty good job of summarizing what’s actually observed. The new observations – if accurate – represent very small departures from true isotropy.
One of the cornerstones of modern astrophysics is the cosmological principle. This is the idea that observers on Earth have no privileged view of the Universe and that the laws of physics must be the same everywhere.
Many observations back up this idea. For example, the Universe looks more or less the same in every direction, having the same distribution of galaxies everywhere we look.
In recent years, however, some cosmologists have begun to suspect that the principle may be wrong. They point to evidence from the study of Type 1 supernovas, which appear to be accelerating away from us, indicating the Universe is not just expanding but accelerating away from us. The curious thing is that this acceleration is not uniform in all directions. Instead, the universe seems to be expanding faster in some directions than others.