July 25, 2024

NASA-wetenschappers onderzoeken donkere energie

NASA-wetenschappers onderzoeken donkere energie

Leg donkere energie uit. Krediet: visualisatie door Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute. Simulatie door Martin White en UC Berkeley en Lars Hernquist, Harvard University

Kan een van de grootste mysteries in de astrofysica worden opgelost door de zwaartekrachttheorie van Albert Einstein te parafraseren? Nog niet, volgens een nieuwe studie waarvan hij co-auteur was[{” attribute=””>NASA scientists.

The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, and physicists don’t know why. This phenomenon seems to contradict everything scientists understand about gravity’s effect on the cosmos: It’s as if you threw an apple in the air and instead of coming back down, it continued upward, faster and faster. The cause of the cosmic acceleration, dubbed dark energy, remains a mystery.

A new study marks the latest effort to determine whether this is all simply a misunderstanding: that expectations for how gravity works at the scale of the entire universe are flawed or incomplete. This potential misunderstanding might help researchers explain dark energy. However, the study – one of the most precise tests yet of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity at cosmic scales – finds that the current understanding still appears to be correct. The study was from the international Dark Energy Survey, using the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile.

The results, authored by a group of scientists that includes some from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), were presented Wednesday, August 24, at the International Conference on Particle Physics and Cosmology (COSMO’22) in Rio de Janeiro. The work helps set the stage for two upcoming space telescopes that will probe our understanding of gravity with even higher precision than the new study and perhaps finally solve the mystery.

NASA-wetenschappers onderzoeken donkere energie

This image – the first released from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. Some of the galaxies appear smeared or stretched due to a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This effect can help scientists map the presence of dark matter in the universe. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

More than a century ago, Albert Einstein developed his Theory of General Relativity to describe gravity. Thus far it has accurately predicted everything from the orbit of Mercury to the existence of black holes. But some scientists have argued that if this theory can’t explain dark energy, then maybe they need to modify some of its equations or add new components.

To find out if that’s the case, members of the Dark Energy Survey looked for evidence that gravity’s strength has varied throughout the universe’s history or over cosmic distances. A positive finding would indicate that Einstein’s theory is incomplete, which might help explain the universe’s accelerating expansion. They also examined data from other telescopes in addition to Blanco, including the ESA (European Space Agency) Planck satellite, and reached the same conclusion.

Einstein’s theory still works, according to the study. So no there’s no explanation for dark energy yet. However, this research will feed into two upcoming missions: ESA’s Euclid mission, slated for launch no earlier than 2023, which has contributions from NASA; and NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, targeted for launch no later than May 2027. Both telescopes will search for changes in the strength of gravity over time or distance.

Blurred Vision

How do scientists know what happened in the universe’s past? By looking at distant objects. A light-year is a measure of the distance light can travel in a year (about 6 trillion miles, or about 9.5 trillion kilometers). That means an object one light-year away appears to us as it was one year ago, when the light first left the object. And galaxies billions of light-years away appear to us as they did billions of years ago. The new study looked at galaxies stretching back about 5 billion years in the past. Euclid will peer 8 billion years into the past, and Roman will look back 11 billion years.

The galaxies themselves don’t reveal the strength of gravity, but how they look when viewed from Earth does. Most matter in our universe is dark matter, which does not emit, reflect, or otherwise interact with light. While physicists don’t know what it’s made of, they know it’s there, because its gravity gives it away: Large reservoirs of dark matter in our universe warp space itself. As light travels through space, it encounters these portions of warped space, causing images of distant galaxies to appear curved or smeared. This was on display in one of first images released from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

In deze video wordt een fenomeen uitgelegd dat zwaartekrachtlens wordt genoemd, waardoor beelden van sterrenstelsels vervormd of vlekkerig kunnen lijken. Deze vervorming wordt veroorzaakt door de zwaartekracht en wetenschappers kunnen het effect gebruiken om donkere materie te detecteren, die geen licht uitstraalt of reflecteert. Krediet: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Wetenschappers op het gebied van donkere-energieonderzoeken kijken naar afbeeldingen van sterrenstelsels voor subtielere vervormingen als gevolg van de buiging van donkere materie in de ruimte, een effect dat zwak wordt genoemd. zwaartekracht lens. De zwaartekracht bepaalt de grootte en verdeling van structuren van donkere materie, en de grootte en verdeling bepalen op hun beurt hoe vervormd deze sterrenstelsels er voor ons uitzien. Op deze manier kunnen afbeeldingen de zwaartekracht op verschillende afstanden van de aarde en op verre tijden in de geschiedenis van het universum onthullen. De groep heeft nu de vormen van meer dan 100 miljoen sterrenstelsels gemeten en tot nu toe komen de waarnemingen overeen met wat de theorie van Einstein voorspelde.

“Er is nog steeds ruimte om de zwaartekrachttheorie van Einstein uit te dagen, aangezien de metingen nauwkeuriger worden”, zegt co-auteur Agnes Ferti, die het onderzoek uitvoerde als postdoctoraal onderzoeker bij JPL. “Maar we hebben nog veel te doen voordat we klaar zijn voor Euclid en Roman. Het is dus absoluut noodzakelijk dat we blijven samenwerken met wetenschappers over de hele wereld aan dit probleem, zoals we deden met het onderzoek naar donkere energie.”

Referentie: “Resultaten van het donkere energieonderzoek van het derde jaar: uitbreidingsbeperkingen van ΛCDM met zwakke lenzen en galactische clusters” door DES Samenwerking: TMC Abbott, M. Aguena, A. Alarcon, O. Alves, A. Amon, J. Annis, Q. Avila, D. Bacon, E. Baxter, K. Bechtol, M.R. Becker, G.M. Bernstein, S. Birrer, J. Blazek, S. Bocquet, A. Brandao-Souza, S.L. Bridle, D. Brooks, D.L. Burke, H. Camacho, A.; Campos, A.; Carneiro-Roussell, M. Carrasco-Kinde, J. Carretero, F.J. Castander, R. Cawthon, C. Chang, A. Chen, R. Chen, A. Choi, C. Consullis, J. Cordero, M.Costanzi, M . Crocce, LN da Costa, MS Pereira, C. Davis, TM Davis, J. DeRose, S. Desai, E. Di Valentino, HT Diehl, S. Dodelson, P. Doel, C. Doux, A. Drlica-Wagner, K. Eckert, T.F. Eifler, F. Elsner, J. Elvin-Poole, S. Everett, X. Fang, A. Farahi, I. Ferrero, A. Ferté, B. Flaugher, P Fosalba, D. Friedel, O Friedrich , J. Freeman, J. Harrison, W.G. Hartley, K. Herner, S.R. Hinton, D.L.; Honshed, H. Huang, M. Hof, de Hutterer, B. Jane, D.J. James, M. Jarvis, N. Jeffrey, T. Geltima, A. Kovacs, Cross, K. Cohn, N.; Kuropatkin, O. Lahav, S.; Lee, P.-F. Leggett, P. Lemus, CD Leonard, AR Liddell, M. Lima, H. Lynn, N. McCran, JL Marshall, J. McCullough, J. Mina Fernandez, F. Minanto, R. Mikel, V. Miranda, JJ Moir, J. Muir, J. Miles, S. Nadthor, A. Navarro-Alsina, RC Nicoll, RLC Uganda, Y. Aomori, A. Palmis, S Pandey, Y Park, M Paterno, F Paz-Chinchon, W.G. Percival, A Perez, AA Plazas Malagon, A Buridon, J Pratt, M ​​​​Raveri, M Rodriguez-Monroy, B Rogozinski, RP Rollins, AK Romer Rodman, AR Rosenfeld, AJ Ross, A. Rykoff en S. Rodman. Samorov, C. Sanchez, E. Sanchez, J. Sanchez en Dr. , M. Smith, M. Soares-Santos, E. Suchyta, M. Tabbutt, G. Tarle, D. Thomas, C. To, A. Troja, M. A. Troxel, I. Tutusaus, T. N. Varga, M. Vincenzi, AR Walker, N. Weverdick, R.H. Wechler, J. Wheeler, P. Yanni, PY, Y. Zhang en J. Zontz, 12 juli 2022. Astrofysica > Kosmologie en niet-galactische astrofysica.
arXiv: 2207.05766