Einstein's theory of relativity was tested on a cosmic scale: inconsistencies appeared
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Everything in the universe has and feels gravity, but this most common of all fundamental forces is also the biggest challenge for physicists.
Fraser, Canada, presented their new study in which they set out to test Einstein's theory of relativity on a cosmic scale. Their results suggest that this theory may need to be changed, writes ScienceAlert.
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Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity works successfully in describing the gravity of stars and planets, but scientists believe that it cannot be ideally applied on the scale of the entire universe.
“Inconsistencies in this theory start to appear when we try to apply it to very small distances where the laws of quantum mechanics apply, or when we try to describe the entire universe. Therefore, we created a model in order to test the feasibility of Einstein's theory on a cosmic scale. , what we got shows that general relativity may need to be corrected,” says Koyama.
Quantum theory predicts that the entire vacuum of space is filled with invisible energy, and you can only notice its changes, but not learn about its total amount. But according to Einstein, this energy has a repulsive gravity and can expand all empty space. By the way, at the end of the 90s of the last century, scientists found out that the expansion of the Universe is actually accelerating. But the amount of this dark energy, as it has come to be called, is much less than quantum theory predicts.
“Therefore, an important question arose: does dark energy have gravity and can it have a gravitational effect on the expansion of the Universe? If so, why is its gravity much weaker than expected? If this energy does not have gravity at all, then what causes cosmic acceleration ?” Poghosyan says.
Dark energy and dark matter
According to scientists, it is still unknown what dark energy is, but it must be considered that it exists in order to explain the expansion of the universe. Similarly, it is not entirely clear what dark energy is, but it must exist to explain how galaxies and clusters of galaxies have evolved over time exactly as we know them today.
“These assumptions are part of a standard cosmological model called the Lambda-CDM Model. This model assumes that the universe is 70% dark energy, 25% dark matter and 5% ordinary matter. This model has been successfully consistent with all data that scientists have collected over the past decades, but the fact that our universe consists of 95% of unusual dark energy and dark matter has led many scientists to think that Einstein's theory of gravity needs to be changed to describe the entire cosmos, “says Koyama.
Expansion of the Universe and problems in estimating its speed
But scientists have recently found out that different ways of measuring the expansion rate of the Universe, which is called the Hubble constant, give different results. This became known as the Hubble problem. Disagreements arise between two values of the Hubble constant:
- The value that the Lambda-CDM Model predicts, which reflected the rate of expansion according to the CMB that remained after the Big Bang.
- The value that shows the rate of expansion of the Universe when observing supernova explosions in distant galaxies.
Focus already wrote that scientists have confirmed the existing differences between two different ways of estimating the rate of expansion of our Universe.
Scientists have proposed many ways to explain these disagreements, including an alternative theory of gravity. Focus already wrote that a recent study showed that scientists may have found support for this alternative theory of gravity.
Testing Einstein's theory for strength
“As part of a new study, we decided to check whether the entire Universe obeys the rules that Albert Einstein substantiated in his theory. General relativity describes gravity as a curvature of space and time, that is, a curvature of the paths along which light and matter move. That is, radiation and matter should bend under the influence of gravity,” says Poghosyan.
To find out whether the general theory of relativity is correct on a cosmic scale, scientists for the first time decided to simultaneously study its three important components:< /p>
- the expansion of the universe;
- the effect of gravity on light;
- the effect of gravity on matter.
“We reconstructed the gravity of the Universe in a computer model based on these three parameters. We used data from measurements of the CMB, as well as data from supernovae and the distribution of distant galaxies. Then we compared our reconstruction with the prediction of the Lambda-CDM model, and in fact this is Einstein's model. As a result, we found a hint that there are discrepancies in Einstein's predictions. Although this discrepancy has a very small statistical error, it exists,” says Koyama.
The theory of relativity will have to be corrected
Scientists believe that there is still a strong possibility that gravity does not work as Einstein's theory predicts on large cosmic scales. And most likely the general theory of relativity needs to be corrected.
“Our study also showed that it is very difficult to solve the Hubble problem only by changing the theory of gravity. A complete solution of this problem requires a new component of the cosmological model that existed before how protons and electrons first merged into hydrogen immediately after the Big Bang. It could be a special form of dark matter, or an early form of dark energy. Or maybe there is some unknown error in the received data about the cosmos,” says Koyama.
Focus also wrote about another theory proposed by American scientists in a recent study, which states that our Universe did not start with a Big Bang. It was just the next phase of her evolution.