According to the standard cosmological model, the universe is expanding faster than the calculated parameters, even taking into account the presence of dark energy and dark matter. Something is missing in it, astrophysicists suggest. And this something could be early dark energy, which gave a significant impetus to the expansion of the Universe in the early stages after the Big Bang and then dissipated without a trace. Now signs of early dark energy have been found, but this is yet to be verified.
Last week, arXiv posted preprints for two studies looking for traces of early dark energy in data collected by the Atacama Cosmological Telescope (ACT) in Chile between 2013 and 2016. One of the articles was prepared by the ACT team, and the second was written by an independent group of researchers – both conclusions overlap, revealing signs of the existence of early dark energy in the first 300 thousand years after the Big Bang.
At the same time, each of the groups does not exclude an erroneous interpretation of the studied data, therefore, the results of the work will be again checked with greater accuracy using the ACT observation data, as well as using the South Pole Telescope (SPT) at the observatory in Antarctica at Amundsen station -Scott.
“If this is indeed the case – if there really was early dark energy in the early universe – then we should see a strong signal.” – said Colin Hill, co-author of the ACT team article, a cosmologist at Columbia University in New York.
ACT telescopes in Antarctica are also mapping the background radiation. The most accurate data on the measurement of relic radiation at the moment are provided by satellites, in particular the satellite of the European Space Agency “Planck” (Planck). Satellite data very accurately confirm the conclusions of the standard model, prescribing 70% of all that exists in the Universe for dark energy, 25% for dark matter and giving ordinary matter only 5% of the total mass of the Universe. But in all this there is a rather noticeable error that violates beautiful calculations – the Universe is expanding 5-10% faster than prescribed and confirmed by observations.
The introduction of the concept of “early dark energy” could have made the Standard Model even more accurate, but it has not yet been possible to detect its presence in the early Universe. Both recent studies once again studied the polarization of the relict radiation and made it possible to conclude that the data on the study of the processes of propagation of shock waves in plasma before it cools down and transforms into a cold gas fit better with the standard model, taking into account the early dark energy, than without it.
If the data are confirmed, then the age of the Universe will be 11% less – 12.4 billion years, and not 13.8 billion, and the rates of its expansion at different stages will correspond to all available measurements without contradictions. This means that we will have a better understanding of the evolution of the universe.
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