Kosmiczna mapa 3D

Will a map straight from Star Wars overturn our knowledge of space?

Scientists from the United States have created a large 3D map of space, similar to those we know from “Star Wars”. There's only one problem. The new map could challenge important findings from the past.

New map contains three times as many galaxies than previous projects of this type. It's over 6 million galaxies! However, her analysis raises questions about the standard concept of dark energy and the future of the universe. The researchers found that thanks to this map they were able to measure how fast the universe expanded at different times in the past with unprecedented accuracy.

Mysterious dark energy

The collected results are also intended to confirm that the further expansion of the universe is accelerating. However, analysis of the map also revealed an intriguing possibility: dark energy – the mysterious, repulsive force that somehow drives the expansion process – is not constant over timeas previously suggested.

What we do see are some hints that it has indeed changed over time, which is quite exciting because this is not what the standard model of the cosmological dark energy constant would look like

– said Dr. Seshadri Nadathur, co-author of the paper and senior researcher at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravity at the University of Portsmouth.

If dark energy were truly constant over time, the future of the universe would be simple – it would expand forever. But if the clues found on the map are confirmed, it will be questioned. This will then affect a revision of the understanding of basic physics, the big bang itself, and the long-range forecast for the universe – say scientists and I add that at the end of this path there is a possibility that the universe will fall into a “great crisis”. However, as The Guardian emphasizes, the research has not yet been peer-reviewed, hence the team's very cautious statements.

How was the map created?

The team first created a 3D map and then measured patterns in the distribution of galaxies that relate to sound waves found in the early universe, known as baryonic acoustic oscillations. Because the size of these patterns is known to be regular, the team was able to calibrate the distances to different galaxies on the map, which allowed them to determine how quickly the universe was growing. over the last 11 billion years, with an accuracy of better than 0.5% at all periods and better than 1% between 8 and 11 billion years ago.

It's amazing that we can measure anything to within 1%, which is the precision that is achieved in the laboratory in physics with high precision measurements

– said prof. Carlos Frenk from Durham University, co-author of the study.

However, as one of the scientists not involved in the project points out, at first glance, this is an exciting step forward. But as the band itself warns, there is still a lot to understand about this data, and early results should be taken with a healthy grain of salt.

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