The Chandra telescope has discovered an uneven expansion of the universe. If this hypothesis is confirmed by data from other telescopes, scientists will have to recalculate the distances from the solar system to all distant objects, according to a paper by astrophysicists from Harvard University. The study is published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe is constantly expanding due to dark energy – the fifth force (after gravitational, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces), which acts on matter and causes it to expand regardless of the force of gravity.
In accordance with the cosmological principles of Copernicus, dark energy forces the Universe to expand evenly – that is, at every point this process occurs at the same speed.
At the beginning of the 21st century, scientists found the first evidence of an uneven expansion of the Universe: by studying relict radiation, they discovered an area called the “Big Bang Echo”, which turned out to have more dark energy than other parts of the Universe.
In a new study, astronomers using the Chandra, XMM-Newton, and ROSAT telescopes studied X-ray emission from more than 300 randomly selected bright clusters of galaxies. If these clusters were located approximately at the same distance from the Earth and had a similar temperature and volume of dark energy, their radiation in the X-ray range would be approximately the same.
The study showed that this is not so: the brightness of clusters, identical in temperature and distance to the Earth, in some cases differed by more than a third. Given that the measurements were carried out on three telescopes, the probability of error in the study is extremely small. This means that the universe is expanding unevenly.
“If the Universe is really heterogeneous, even if this situation has been established only in the last several billion years, then this will lead to a total paradigm shift since now we will have to take into account in which part of the sky the objects are located. Almost all measurements of distances to the most distant objects of the universe were based on the fact that the properties of space are the same everywhere. If we are right, then we will have to revise all past theories and conclusions”.
Konstantinos Migkas, lead author of the study