(ORDO NEWS) — One important component is missing in theories describing the universe – scientists cannot explain the mysterious fact of the accelerated expansion of our world. In a new study, astronomers show that subtle vibrations of the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves may be the key to detecting this component.
To explain this “missing component” of the universe, scientists have proposed many different hypotheses. “Many of them imply changes in gravitational laws as we move to cosmological scales,” said one of the authors of the new work, Jose María Ezquiaga from the Institute of Cosmological Physics. Kavli University of Chicago, USA. “Therefore, gravitational waves are an excellent source of information about these possible modifications of gravitational laws.”
In their work, Eskiaga et al. Suggest that if gravitational waves on their way to Earth meet a supermassive black hole or a cluster of galaxies, then the nature of the wave changes. Such deviations from Einstein’s theory in this case will be reflected in the incoming wave.
For example, one of the hypotheses explaining the “missing component” of the universe suggests the existence of an exotic particle. Such a particle is capable of, among other things, generating a kind of “background” or “environment” around a massive object. If a propagating gravitational wave falls into a supermassive black hole, then this is accompanied by the generation of secondary waves that mix with the original gravitational wave. Depending on the type and size of the object lying in the foreground, the gravitational wave will carry a specific “echo”.
Eskiaga’s paper describes the conditions necessary to detect such effects in scientific data that will be collected in the future. The next launch of the LIGO gravitational wave observatory will take place in 2022, and by that time the observatory will be equipped with more sensitive sensors. The increased number of gravitational-wave events recorded annually as a result of the equipment upgrade gives a chance that among them it will be possible to meet such an event in which a gravitational wave meets a massive object on its way, Eskiaga and colleagues believe.
The study is published in the journal Physical Review D.
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