(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have tried to study dark energy in the universe by testing whether gravity has always been the same.
Researchers conducted one of the most accurate tests of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to date, looking at vast cosmic distances, and like all previous tests, the theory passed with flying colours.
The current understanding seems to be correct. This test has important implications for a major cosmological mystery: the nature of dark energy.
More than two decades ago, astronomers discovered that the universe is experiencing an accelerated expansion.
The source of this acceleration remains unknown. The main hypothesis is based on the existence of dark energy, an energy field in time and space that exerts a repulsive pressure (something like anti-gravity).
We don’t have much evidence of what this darkest energy does, so scientists have suggested that perhaps our theory of gravity is incomplete, and that gravity may differ on a large scale.
An international team of dark energy researchers has published a report that looks at distances up to 5 billion light-years to study galaxies and identifies the subtle distortions created by gravity.
This effect, called weak gravitational lensing, allowed the team to determine the strength of gravity in the past. As far as they can tell, they find no evidence of physics beyond our current model of the universe.
In 2023, the European Space Agency (ESA) is going to send a new observatory called Euclid “Euclid” into space. Euclid will make it possible to analyze outer space at a distance of up to 8 billion light years.
And by 2027, NASA will send the Nancy Grace Roman telescope into space, which will observe weak gravitational lensing even further – up to 11 billion light-years away.
“There is still room to challenge Einstein’s theory of gravity as measurements become more and more precise,” said Agnès Ferté, co-author of the study.
“But we still have so much to do before we are ready for the launches of Euclid and Nancy Grace Roman.”
There are many uncertainties about the nature of dark energy and the equally mysterious dark matter. But at the moment they continue to be the main hypotheses.
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