Our universe could be turned upside down by the largest 3D map

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It has been over two decades since the discovery of dark energy.
Dark energy, in fact, may not even be a substance.
For instance, the standard model of cosmology — our leading theory of cosmic evolution — does suggest dark energy is unwavering across the universe and throughout time, making it a fundamental property of space.
If constant, the mysterious dark energy that makes up a whopping 70 percent of the universe would push away all stars and galaxies.
And, on April 4, the DESI collaboration shared the largest-ever 3D map of the universe.
In addition to countless galaxies clustered together like knotted threads, DESI’s new 3D map spotlights a faint pattern in the early universe known as Baryon Acoustic Oscillations, or BAO.
The researchers found a varying dark energy model agreed better with the data compared to the standard model.
To be clear, no single dataset by itself convincingly reveals the time-evolving nature of dark energy, but the signal becomes slightly stronger when all datasets are combined.


Dark energy has been known about for more than 20 years.

Thus, scientists have had over two decades to unravel the mysteries surrounding this substance that is invisible to the naked eye but seems to be tearing the universe apart. However, their knowledge of it remains largely lacking. It is possible that dark energy is not a material at all. It might even be an inherent characteristic of space itself.

One of our main theories of cosmic evolution, the standard model of cosmology, for example, suggests that dark energy is a fundamental property of space and appears to be constant throughout the universe and across time. All stars and galaxies would be pushed away if the mysterious dark energy, which accounts for a massive 70% of the universe, remained constant. Though dark energy, another name for the hypothetical “anti-gravity” force, may not be a static force but rather change over time, suggesting a less lonely future for universe inhabitants, this largest survey of the cosmos’ cosmic history may suggest otherwise.

In the event that this preliminary finding is confirmed by additional observations, cosmologists might need to investigate systematic uncertainties in the widely accepted Lambda CDM (LCDM) model—a mathematical representation of the universe in which lambda stands for dark energy. In order to determine which model of our universe truly fits the best, they might also need to begin sorting through several dozen others. However, since the evidence falls short of the “5-sigma threshold,” which establishes whether a signal qualifies as an official discovery, it is still tentative. Therefore, with more data expected in the coming years, evolving theories regarding the evolution of dark energy may need to be revised.

According to Dillon Brout of Boston University, who uses supernovas to measure the acceleration of the universe, “if this is true, this just turns cosmology upside down.”. The discovery in question has the potential to significantly alter our understanding of the universe. ****.

Related: James Webb telescope confirms that our current understanding of the universe is gravely flawed.

Universe-wide street lights.

On top of the Nicholas U. Monthly positions of a million galaxies are determined by the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI, using the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Arizona’s Kitt Peak National Observatory. The rate at which the universe has expanded over the last 11 billion years can be calculated by cosmologists using these observations. Thus, these distant galaxies, which cosmologists refer to as the “streetlights of the universe,” are assisting in the study of dark energy, the enigma that permeates the entire universe.

Additionally, the largest-ever 3D map of the universe was shared by the DESI collaboration on April 4. It also contains highly accurate estimates of how quickly the universe has expanded over the previous 11 billion years. Compared to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which took over ten years to create a comparable three-dimensional map, DESI has shown itself to be twice as effective in measuring the expansion history of the early universe in just its first year of operation.

Brout, who is not associated with the DESI collaboration, stated that this “is the next generation of data we’ve been waiting a long time for, so it’s really nice to see it having arrived.”.

DESI’s new 3D map reveals not only countless galaxies knotted together like threads, but also a faint pattern in the early universe called Baryon Acoustic Oscillations, or BAO. Through matter that existed during the first 380,000 years of the universe’s history, these delicate, three-dimensional wrinkles had flown, freezing over time and becoming remnants of a young universe. Researchers were able to calculate the distances to galaxies and the rate of expansion of the universe at different times by charting the sizes of those frozen BAOs.

The DESI collaboration also studied over 400,000 intensely bright objects called quasars, because light from typical galaxies is too faint to see because those galaxies are very far away from us and the light they emit is relatively low-intensity. Comparable to mapping galaxies, mapping pockets of dense matter is made possible by the absorption of light from these objects as it travels through interstellar space by clouds of gas and dust.

Scientist Andreu Font-Ribera, who is part of the DESI collaboration and works at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Spain, said in a statement that “it lets us look out further to when the universe was very young.”. “It’s amazing to see it work; it’s a very difficult measurement. “.

“We’re in unknown territory if this is real.”.

An early analysis of the DESI data combined with information from other cosmological data leads to the preliminary conclusion that dark energy may be evolving over time. In contrast to the conventional model, the researchers discovered that a changing dark energy model more closely matched the data. To be clear, no single dataset can satisfactorily demonstrate the time-evolving nature of dark energy on its own; however, when all datasets are combined, the signal becomes slightly stronger.

Co-speaker for DESI at the University of Utah, Kyle Dawson, told Space . com that “it is not a strong enough preference that I would say Lambda CDM is wrong.”. Actually, we’ve never discovered any meaningful departures from that model before. “.

According to Dawson’s early analysis, dark energy appears to be shifting from being a significant accelerator of the universe’s acceleration to somewhat tapering off.

“We’re in unknown territory if this is real,” Brout remarked. Except for its utility in assisting cosmologists in detecting departures from the standard model, Lambda CDM is the second most basic model of our universe that was employed by the DESI collaboration. According to Brout, dozens of alternative models would also become feasible if upcoming observations show that dark energy is changing over time. Cosmologists would then need to begin testing each model separately.

“Who knows, if it’s not Lambda CDM?”.

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