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The universe is not flat – it is curved

A new article by a group of cosmologists suggests that the current model of the Universe needs to be reviewed.

Dr. Eleanor Di Valentino from the University of Manchester led the study with colleagues from the University of Rome and Johns Hopkins University.

The discovery, recently published in the journal Nature Astronomy, is based on measurements of the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the direction in which radiation moves in space. Accurate CMB anisotropy measurements can determine the shape of the universe with a high degree of accuracy. The data obtained using the Planck satellite strongly indicate a universe with positive curvature.

If true, it challenges the current, flat model of the universe. In a flat universe, two parallel lines will travel forever without meeting. However, in a curved universe, two lines will eventually meet.

This has important consequences in cosmology, since it assumes that the existing inflationary theory, which describes the evolution of the universe after the Big Bang, needs to be revised. Previous experiments, such as the WMAP satellite, supported a flat theory. A recent Planck release, however, with significantly better accuracy, found that the Universe was “almost flat,” but still curved 4% more than expected.

It also drives a wedge between Planck data and other data sets, such as BOSS DR14 survey data. Previously, the two data sets were consistent, but this was based on the assumption of a flat universe. After the curvature is considered, the two data sets are at odds.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Di Valentino said; "The current cosmological scenario, based on inflation, dark matter and the cosmological constant, does not seem to fit into all the observations."

She went on; “Experimental taxonomy can still play a role, and the duty of future experiments will be to analyze current contradictions. At the moment, however, the idea of ​​a cosmology of reconciliation is undoubtedly under pressure. ”

The full title of Dr. Di Valentino's article, “Planck is evidence of a closed universe and a possible crisis for cosmology,” published in the journal Astronomy of Nature on November 4. DOI of this document 10.1038 / s41550-019-0906-9

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