Instead of a single Big Bang that gave birth to the universe billions of years ago, cosmologists are beginning to suspect that there may have been a second transformative event that could explain the great abundance of dark matter In the universe.
As New scientist According to reports, our recent glimpses into the first moments of the universe, just a few million years after the Big Bang, could allow us to gain new knowledge about this “dark” Big Bang, which could solve a puzzle that has tormented astronomers for almost half a century. .
Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that does not interact in any way with light or electromagnetic fields, yet appears to make up about 27% of the known universe.
Astronomers have long tried to explain why galaxy clusters move in ways that our current standard model of physics cannot explain. For mathematics to work, the dominant explanation is that there are lots of things we can’t see.
Despite our best efforts, we are still not able to observe this problem directly. Today, some researchers wonder if a second big bang could have given birth to this exotic substance after the usual matter to which we are accustomed.
“People always assume that everything is created at once in a single big bang, but who really knows?” Katherine Freese, a physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said New scientist.
In an article that has not yet been peer-reviewed, Freese and his colleagues suggest that a “Dark Big Bang” could have “happened when the universe was less than a month old.”
They suggest the event could have formed several different types of dark matter, including “darkzillas” – yes, that’s a reference to “Godzilla” – which are monstrous-sized particles 10 trillion times the mass of ‘a single proton.
However, if the event had been more gradual instead of violent and abrupt, the Dark Big Bang would have produced lighter “dark cannibal” particles that absorbed each other with each collision.
These particles are reminiscent of one of the leading candidates for dark matter, called weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP), which astronomers have postulated for decades to explain mysterious forces that escape the standard model of physics. .
Freese now hopes that the study of gravitational waves emerging from the universeIt is the background of gravitational waves could shed more light on his theory of the Dark Big Bang.
His work is part of a larger shift in the astronomy community. Instead of one big event that created the universe, cosmologists now wonder whether the universe may have gone through multiple phase transitions, slowly giving rise to everything from matter to dark matter.
By measuring disruptions in signals emitted by highly magnetized neutron stars called pulsars, scientists have attempted to identify the origin of these gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, in hopes of better understanding the early days of the universe.
Perhaps then we can take a step closer to solving the mystery surrounding the existence of dark matter – or whether “darkzillas” or “dark cannibals” could account for much of what surrounds us.
Learn more about the Big Bang: Amazing video flies through dazzling 3D view of James Webb’s universe