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Canadian Scientists: Universe Could Be Twice as Old as Currently Believed

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Photo: Canadian Scientists: Universe Could Be Twice as Old as Currently Believed. Source: Freepik
Photo: Canadian Scientists: Universe Could Be Twice as Old as Currently Believed. Source: Freepik

According to a new study by scientists from the University of Ottawa that challenges dominant cosmological theories and sheds new light on the so-called "impossible early galaxy formation problem," our universe could be twice as old as currently estimated. The university's website reported this finding.

For many years, astronomers and physicists have calculated the age of our universe by measuring the time that has passed since the Big Bang and studying the oldest stars based on the redshift of light coming from distant galaxies. In 2021, with the help of new methods and technological advancements, the age of our universe was estimated to be 13.797 billion years using the Lambda-CDM concordance model.

However, many scientists were perplexed by the existence of stars like Methuselah, which appear to be older than the predicted age of our universe, as well as the discovery of early galaxies in an advanced stage of evolution made possible by the James Webb Space Telescope. These galaxies, existing only 300 million years after the Big Bang, exhibit maturity and mass typically associated with billions of years of cosmic evolution. Moreover, they are unusually small in size, adding another level of mystery to the equation.

"Our newly developed model extends the formation time of galaxies by several billion years, resulting in the age of the universe being 26.7 billion years instead of the previously believed 13.7 billion," said study author Rajendra Gupta, a physics professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa.

The "tired light" theory proposed by Zwicky suggests that the redshift of light from distant galaxies occurs due to the gradual loss of energy by photons over vast cosmic distances. However, it contradicted existing observations. Gupta found that "allowing this theory to coexist with the expansion of the universe makes it possible to reinterpret redshift as a hybrid phenomenon rather than solely a consequence of expansion."

In addition to the outdated "tired light" theory, Gupta introduces the concept of "varying constants" proposed by Paul Dirac. These constants are fundamental physical constants that govern the interaction between particles. According to Dirac, these constants could change over time. Allowing them to evolve could expand the timeframes for the formation of early galaxies observed by the Webb telescope at high redshifts from hundreds of millions of years to billions of years. This provides a more plausible explanation for the high level of development and mass observed in these ancient galaxies.

Furthermore, Gupta suggests that the traditional interpretation of the "cosmological constant," which represents dark energy responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe, requires reconsideration. Instead, he proposes a constant that accounts for the evolution of the constants of nature. This modification of the cosmological model helps solve the puzzle of the small sizes of galaxies observed in the early universe, allowing for more precise observations.

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