Scientists use big bang echoes to make more accurate universe maps

Impact simulation. Credit: Jingyao Dou.

Scientists from several Chinese universities and the University of Cordoba have developed a new way to understand the universe better.

They published their study in the journal Nature Astronomy after working on it for over two years.

This new research can help us find out how far apart things are in the universe more precisely than before.

You might be wondering, how are they doing this?

They are using something called Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO), which are like ancient echoes from the Big Bang.

These BAO are really important because they help us measure distances in the universe. Knowing these distances can tell us a lot about how the universe has grown and what it’s made of.

The Big Bang was the event that created the universe. Right after it happened, BAO started spreading like sound waves.

They moved through super-hot stuff that acted like a liquid. Imagine tossing a stone into a pond and watching the ripples spread out—that’s sort of what these waves did.

Eventually, the universe cooled down, and these waves got “frozen” in place.

These BAO waves are interesting because we know how long they lasted. That makes them useful for figuring out how far away galaxies are from each other and from Earth.

This is really important if we want to map out distant parts of the universe accurately.

Antonio J. Cuesta, a scientist from the University of Cordoba and one of the authors of the study, explained how they created a new method for spotting these BAO waves.

They looked at about one million galaxies and paid special attention to two things: the shape of the galaxies and how many other galaxies were near them.

Usually, galaxies stretch towards areas where there are more galaxies because of the pull of gravity. But sometimes, that’s not the case.

Cuesta said that’s where you’ll find BAO waves because they also act like gravity magnets. In simple terms, they noticed that when galaxies didn’t stretch toward where you’d expect them to, it was a clue that BAO waves were nearby.

This new method helps scientists figure out where galaxies really are in the universe and how far they are from Earth. Cuesta said it’s like looking into the past because understanding these BAO waves can tell us about the early universe.

So, why is this important? Well, knowing more about where things are in the universe can give us clues about how the universe has expanded over time.

It can also help us understand mysterious stuff like dark matter and dark energy. These are things in the universe that we can’t see but know must be there because of how galaxies move and other signs.

In short, this new study opens up exciting possibilities for learning more about the universe.

By better understanding these Big Bang waves, we can create more accurate maps and maybe solve some of the universe’s biggest mysteries.

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