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 passed from a single point to a specific physical space. And the physics of this super-fast expansion points to a flat universe. For this reason, most physicists opt for this option today.
Now, a recent study titled Planck\’s Evidence for a Closed Universe and a Possible Crisis for Cosmology and published in the journal Nature Astronomy questions the accepted idea of a flat universe and instead suggests that it could have a curved shape. and closes 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, flat universe, photons, undisturbed, would travel along their parallel courses without ever interacting.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists relied on microwave background radiation (CMB) data – commonly known as the Big Bang echo – collected by the Space Agency\’s (ESA) European Plank Space Telescope.
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 all of 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 from the latest CMB measurement, the most accurate to date, there are far more “gravitational lensing” than would be expected, and this means that gravity could be “bending” the microwaves a lot. CMB more than current physics can explain.
The researchers themselves, however, indicate that while the evidence is solid, their results are not entirely conclusive.
According to the team\’s calculations, the data points to a closed Universe with a standard deviation of 3.5 sigma (a statistical measure that means that there is a 99.8% probability that the result is not due to statistical error).
And that\’s still well below the 5 sigma that physicists need before confirming an idea.
The debate, then, is served.
The study found an important discrepancy, an anomaly that needs an explanation.
And that of the closed Universe may be the most valid.