Scientists have created one of the most accurate maps of matter in the universe. This shows that the best models of the universe may be missing something.
A new map, created by pooling data from two telescopes observing different types of light, reveals that the universe is less “clumpy” than previous models predicted.
According to our current understanding, the Cosmic Web is composed of hydrogen gas and dark mattertake shape in the chaotic aftermath big bang, web tendrils formed as clumps out of the billowing soup of the young universe. Galaxies eventually formed where the strands of the web intersected. However, the new map was released on January 31st as follows: three (opens in new tab) another (opens in new tab) the study (opens in new tab) The journal Physical Review D shows that in many parts of the universe matter is less cohesive and more evenly distributed than theory predicts.
Related: How dark is the cosmic web?
Astrophysicist and co-author Eric Baxter of the University of Hawaii said, “The current cosmic variability appears to be slightly less than we would expect given standard cosmological models anchored in the early universe. said in a statement (opens in new tab).
spinning the cosmic web
According to the standard model of cosmology, the universe began to form after the Big Bang, with young universes swarming with both matter and particles. antimatter, spawned only to annihilate each other on contact. Most of the building blocks of the universe disappeared in this way, but a few pockets of primordial plasma remained here and there due to the rapidly expanding space-time structure and some quantum fluctuations.
the power of gravity Soon these plasma pockets themselves are compressed and matter is heated to the extent that sound waves traveling at half the speed of light (called baryon acoustic oscillations) propagate outward from the plasma mass. . These ripples pushed away matter that had not yet been drawn into the center of the mass, lodging as a halo around it. was distributed as a series of thin films surrounding the outer space.
When this material, mostly hydrogen and helium, cooled sufficiently, it condensed further to form the first stars. Nuclear fusion.
To shed light on how the cosmic web is weaved, the researchers used Chile’s dark energy survey, which scanned the sky in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared frequencies from 2013 to 2019, and Combined observations obtained by the Antarctic Telescope. It is located in Antarctica and studies the microwave radiation that makes up the cosmic microwave background. This is the oldest light in the universe.
Although they observe different wavelengths of light, both telescopes use a technique called gravitational lensing to map masses of matter. Gravitational lensing occurs when a large object is between the telescope and its source. The more distorted the light coming from a particular pocket of space appears, the more matter there is in that space. This makes gravitational lensing both ordinary matter and its mysterious cousin dark matter, which, despite occupying 85% of the universe, interacts with light only by distorting it with gravity. Makes a great tool for tracking.
With this approach, the researchers used data from both telescopes to locate the material and compared one telescope’s data set to the other to remove errors.
“It works like a cross-check, making it a much more robust measurement than using either one alone,” says co-lead author. chi wei chan (opens in new tab)An astrophysicist at the University of Chicago said in a statement:
The cosmic matter map produced by the researchers matched our understanding of how the universe evolved remarkably well, except for key discrepancies. It was more evenly distributed and less clumped than the standard model of cosmology suggests.
There are two possibilities to explain this discrepancy. The first is that we are simply viewing the universe inaccurately, and that obvious deviations from the model disappear as we acquire better tools for observing the universe. A more important possibility of the eye is that our cosmological model lacks some very big physics. Knowing which is correct will not only require further cross-examination and mapping, but also a deeper understanding of the cosmological constraints that bind the cosmic soap bubbles.
“There is no known physical explanation for this discrepancy,” the researchers wrote in one of the studies. “Inter-survey cross-correlation … enables very strong cross-correlation studies that provide some of the most accurate and precise cosmological constraints, allowing us to continue stress testing [standard cosmological] model. “