(ORDO NEWS) — Perhaps the Big Bang was not alone.
The emergence of all particles and radiation in the Universe may have been joined by another Big Bang that flooded our Universe with particles of dark matter. And maybe we can find it.
In the standard cosmological picture, the early universe was a very exotic place.
Perhaps the most important event that took place in our cosmos was inflation, which in the very early days after the Big Bang sent our universe into a period of extremely rapid expansion.
When inflation ended, the exotic quantum of the field that caused this event disintegrated, turning into a stream of particles and radiation that exists today.
When our universe was less than 20 minutes old, these particles began to assemble into the first protons and neutrons during what we call Big Bang nucleosynthesis.
Big Bang nucleosynthesis is a pillar of modern cosmology because the calculations behind it accurately predict the amount of hydrogen and helium in space.
However, despite the success of our picture of the early universe, we still do not understand dark matter, which is the mysterious and invisible form of matter that makes up the vast majority of mass in space.
The standard assumption in Big Bang models is that whatever process generated particles and radiation also created dark matter. And after that, the dark matter just hung around, ignoring everyone else.
But a group of researchers came up with a new idea. They argue that our inflationary epoch and the epochs of Big Bang nucleosynthesis were not the only ones.
Dark matter could develop along a completely different trajectory. In this scenario, when inflation ended, it still flooded the universe with particles and radiation.
But not dark matter. Instead, some quantum field remained, which did not disappear.
As the universe expanded and cooled, this extra quantum field eventually transformed, causing dark matter to form.
The advantage of this approach is that it decouples the evolution of dark matter from normal matter, so that Big Bang nucleosynthesis can occur as we currently understand it, while dark matter evolves along a separate path.
This approach also opens up new possibilities.
There are opportunities to explore a rich variety of theoretical models of dark matter, because now that it has its own evolutionary track, it is easier to track it in calculations to see how it can compare with observations.
For example. , the group behind the paper was able to determine that if there was a so-called Dark Big Bang, it must have happened when our universe was less than a month old.
The study also showed that the emergence of the Dark Big Bang released a very unique signature of strong gravitational ion waves that will persist in the modern universe.
Current experiments, such as pulsar time arrays, should be able to detect these gravitational waves, if they exist.
We still don’t know if a Dark Big Bang happened, but this work provides a clear way to test this idea.
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