This means that the universe may be twice as old as previously thought.
It is generally believed that the universe began about 13.7 billion years ago. And it’s an assumption that became even stronger a few years ago, when a study from 2021 was found to support this theory. But researcher Rajendra Gupta is not so sure. According to him, there were too many remarkable observations that did not correspond to a universe that was almost 14 billion years old. According to him, the universe is even older than that. much older.
Determine the age
How do scientists determine the age of the universe? They do this by measuring the time since the Big Bang and studying the oldest stars based on the redshift (see box) of light from galaxies. In the year 2021, this has resulted in the most accurate measurements of the age of the universe to date. Observations suggested that the universe has been allowed to extinguish about 13.77 billion birthday candles, plus or minus 40 million years.
What is the redshift?
When an object moves away from us, the spectrum of the emitted light (or other electromagnetic radiation) when received shifts to “red”, that is, in the direction of longer wavelengths. This is called a redshift. By looking at the color of the light, researchers can estimate how fast an object is moving away from us and how fast the universe is expanding.
Still, Gupta has his doubts. For example, we find the star Methuselah about 190 light years from Earth. And this star appears strangely older than the estimated age of our universe. In addition, the powerful James Webb Telescope has already detected some early galaxies in an advanced stage of development. These galaxies would have only formed about 300 million years after the Big Bang, but they actually look much more mature than that. In fact, it seems that they already have billions of years of cosmic evolution behind them.
Gupta – and many other astronomers – have baffled over this issue. “A star can’t be older than the universe,” he says in an interview. Saintias. “Just as a son cannot be older than his father. Stars and galaxies take time to form and mature. How can a child born a year ago actually look like an adult?”
26.7 billion years
in New study So Gupta challenges the general cosmological paradigm. “The age of 13.7 billion years seems to contradict observations of the early universe,” he says. This is why he is now refining the age of the universe. “What we see fits better with a universe that is 26.7 billion years old,” Gupta said.
Why exactly does he think so? “Roughly speaking, the rate of expansion of the universe determines the age of the universe,” the researcher explains when asked. “This speed is determined by observing the redshift of light from distant galaxies.” In short, the redshift of galaxies can be an indicator of how fast the universe is expanding – and thus reveal the age of the universe. Still, you can ask an interesting question here. Because the redshift is really because the universe is expanding and the light from those galaxies is moving to the red side of the spectrum as a result? Gupta continues, “Some well-known astronomers have suggested that the redshift is caused by ‘fatigue’ of light as it travels across cosmic distances.” In this case, the redshift of light from distant galaxies would be due to the gradual loss of energy by photons over vast cosmic distances.
According to the researcher, the redshift may be a twofold phenomenon. This can explain a lot. Gupta concludes, “If both phenomena cause a redshift, then only a part of the redshift represents the expansion of the universe.” “This means that the expansion of the universe is slower than if the redshift was due to just that expansion. A slower expansion translates to an older age of the universe.”
This means that the presence of “tired light” could mean that the universe is 26.7 billion years old. This would make our universe more than twice as old as previous estimates. This is a reasonable theory. This solves the problem of the Methuselah star and mature galaxies observed by James Webb in the young universe. “By relaxing the previous theory,” Gupta notes, “we no longer have to make unrealistic assumptions about stars, galaxies, and black holes in the cosmic dawn.”
With the study, the book on the age of the universe gets a whole new chapter. “Until the turn of the century, there was a great deal of uncertainty about the rate of expansion and therefore about the age of the universe, which at that time was estimated to be between 7 and 20 billion years,” says Gupta. With the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993, this uncertainty was greatly reduced, and the age of the universe was determined to be 13.7 billion years. Our new model extends the formation time of galaxies by several billion years, so we now estimate the age of the universe to be 26.7 billion years.”
The exact age of the universe
Thus, the exact age of the universe continues to preoccupy astronomers. And this has good reasons. For example, many astronomers find it important to learn more about the universe in which we live. The desire to know how they are formed and how they evolve are also burning questions that interest the human mind. Gupta also wants to solve the mystery. And with his model he makes a frantic effort. “The age of the universe must be consistent with the observations,” he says. “If not, then we have to look for new physics to explain it.”
The question is whether the last word has been said about the age of the universe, or whether other astronomers will come up with new insights. Because just like the vast universe, science is always subject to change.
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