|arya||Date: Friday, 11-January-2013, 3:49 PM | Message # 1|
The accelerating expansion of the galaxies observed in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field may conform more to Albert Einstein’s “cosmological constant” than a popular alternative theory of dark energy. Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team
(Phys.org)—Research by University of Arizona astronomy professor Rodger Thompson finds that a popular alternative to Albert Einstein's theory for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe does not fit newly obtained data on a fundamental constant, the proton to electron mass ratio.
Thompson's findings, reported Jan. 9 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, Calif., impact our understanding of the universe and point to a new direction for the further study of its accelerating expansion.
To explain the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, astrophysicists have invoked dark energy – a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space. A popular theory of dark energy, however, does not fit new results on the value of the proton mass divided by the electron mass in the early universe.
Thompson computed the predicted change in the ratio by the dark energy theory (generally referred to as rolling scalar fields) and found it did not fit the new data.
UA alumnus Brian Schmidt, along with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Reiss, won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for showing that the expansion of the universe is accelerating rather than slowing down as previously thought.
The acceleration can be explained by reinstating the "cosmological constant" into Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Einstein originally introduced the term to make the universe stand still. When it was later found that the universe was expanding, Einstein called the cosmological constant "his biggest blunder."
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