(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have introduced dark energy to explain cosmological phenomena such as the accelerated expansion of the universe. But does science need it?
Simulations of neutron star mergers have helped scientists test alternative theories of gravity and question whether dark energy is really needed to describe cosmological processes.
For about 100 years now, general relativity has been very successful in describing gravity at various scales, passing all experimental tests on Earth and in the solar system.
However, to explain cosmological observations such as the observed accelerated expansion of the universe, we need to introduce new components such as dark matter and dark energy, the nature of which is still a mystery.
But is dark energy real or, conversely, can it be interpreted as a violation of our understanding of gravity?
Is dark energy an illusion or not?
The study of neutron star mergers can help answer this question. Such a unique chance is provided due to the fact that the gravitational interaction inside them is incredibly strong.
By studying the processes inside these objects, scientists can compare theories that describe gravity, such as general relativity and the theory of “dark gravity”.
Using vast computational resources, scientists have been able to run the first-ever simulations of binary neutron star mergers in theories that go beyond general relativity and replicate the behavior of dark energy on a cosmological scale.
This makes it possible to compare Einstein’s theory and its modified versions and solve the mystery of dark energy.
“Surprisingly, we found that the ‘dark gravity’ hypothesis is just as good as general relativity. They both serve their purpose well – to explain the data obtained by the LIGO and Virgo interferometers during past collisions of binary neutron stars.
Indeed, the differences between the two theories in these systems are quite subtle, but they could be detected by next-generation gravitational interferometers such as the Einstein telescope in Europe,” the study authors conclude.
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