Everything we think we know about the shape of the universe could be wrong.
In the first billionths of a second after the Big Bang, there was a moment of exponential expansion during which the Universe went from being a simple point to a specific physical space. And the physics of that super-fast expansion points towards a flat universe. For this reason, most physicists opt for that option today.
Now, a recent study entitled Planck’s evidence of a closed universe and a possible crisis for cosmology and published in the journal Nature Astronomy calls into question the accepted idea of a flat universe and instead suggests that it could have a curved shape. and close on itself like a sphere, instead of having a flat shape like a stretched sheet.
If two photons travel in parallel in a closed universe, they will eventually meet. Instead, in an open and flat universe, photons, without being disturbed, would travel along with their parallel courses without ever interacting.
To reach this conclusion, scientists have relied on microwave background radiation (CMB) data – commonly known as the Big Bang echo – collected by the Space Agency’s Plank space telescope European (ESA).
According to the information studied, scientists have found an anomaly in the CMB that supports the idea of a “closed universe.”
But … what is the anomaly?
The CMB is the oldest element we can see in the entire Universe. It consists of a tenuous “environmental” microwave radiation that floods the entire space and constitutes one of the most important sources of data on the history and behavior of the Universe as a whole.
According to the data of the last measurement of the CMB, the most accurate to date, there is a much greater number of “gravitational lenses” than would be expected, and that means that gravity could be “bending” the microwaves of the CMB much more than current physics is able to explain.
The researchers themselves, however, indicate that, although the evidence is sound, their results are not entirely conclusive. According to the calculations carried out by the team, the data points to a closed Universe with a standard deviation of 3.5 sigma (a statistical measurement that means that there is a 99.8% chance that the result is not due to a statistical error). And that is still well below the 5 sigmas that physicists need before confirming an idea.
The debate, then, is served. The study has found an important discrepancy, an anomaly that needs an explanation. And that of the closed Universe could be the most valid.
Source: Live Science