One of the oldest and most fundamental questionsmankind is the question of how many years our universe has existed. Fortunately, advances in science and technology have allowed researchers to get closer than ever to the origins of the world we know: recently, astronomers from the Paranal Observatory, located high in the Andes in northern Chile, announced new data obtained from the measurement of relic radiation - the oldest thermal radiation in our universe , discovered in 1965 and sometimes called the echo of the Big Bang. According to new data, the universe is 13.77 billion years old, give or take 40 million years. The importance of the discovery is difficult to overestimate, because the exact age of the universe is an important factor for scientists trying to understand the evolution and expansion of the cosmos. Moreover, it is possible that scientists are on the cusp of a new discovery in cosmology that could change our understanding of how the universe works. Let's talk about one of the most important scientific discoveries and how the discovery of the most ancient galaxy in the Universe has to do with it.
How to determine the age of the universe?
The myth of the creation of the world exists in everyculture. The Aztecs, for example, believed that no initial chaos ever existed. Its place was taken by the so-called primary order - an absolute vacuum, impenetrably black and endless, in which the supreme god, Ometeotl, lived in some strange way. In Hinduism, the concept of the emergence of the world from emptiness also appears, however, emptiness is somewhat strange - according to legend, at the beginning of time there was an endless ocean in which a giant cobra swam and there was the god Vishnu, who slept on its tail. And there was nothing else. The Babylonians, in turn, believed that heaven and earth were woven from the body of a slain God.
Interestingly, only a few belief systemsindicate when existence began (with the exception of Hinduism, which teaches that the universe changes every 4.3 billion years, which is not that far from the actual age of the Earth). In the fourth and third centuries BC, Plato, Aristotle, and other philosophers unanimously argued that the planets and stars were enclosed in ever-rotating celestial spheres, and for the next millennium or so, few would have thought that the universe had an age at all.
This continued until as long as the developmentscience did not lead to the emergence of telescopes, which radically changed the view of mankind on the universe. The fact is that larger telescopes have given astronomers a clearer idea not only of the planets of the solar system, but also of other galaxies. In the late 1920s, Edwin Hubble's keen mind allowed an outstanding scientist to measure intergalactic distances for the first time. He found that galaxies are not only truly huge, but also move away from each other.
Moreover, the Universe was expanding and Hubbleestablished at what speed - 500 kilometers per second per megaparsec - a constant that now bears his name. With knowledge of the expansion rate of the universe, astronomers were able to look back in time and estimate when the cosmos began to grow. Hubble's work in 1929 showed that the universe is expanding in such a way that it should be about 2 billion years old.
You will be wondering: Why is our Universe so strange and are there laws of physics?
But measuring distances to distant galaxies -it's a thankless job. Another, more reliable method emerged in 1965 when researchers found faint crackling of microwaves emanating from everywhere in space. Previously, cosmologists predicted that such a signal must exist, since light emitted just hundreds of thousands of years after the birth of the universe would be stretched out by the expansion of space into longer microwaves. By measuring the characteristics of this microwave background radiation (relict radiation), astronomers have concluded that the cosmos has a beginning.
Over time, the relic radiation allowedcosmologists get an idea of how big the universe was shortly after the Big Bang. This later helped them calculate its size and expansion rate in the past and today. But as measurements of the early and modern universes became more accurate, the versions began to diverge. This discrepancy may hint that something deeper is missing from the cosmologists' picture of reality. For example, the link between relic radiation and the present day suggests the presence of mysterious dark matter and dark energy that seem to dominate our universe. The fact that the measurements of the Hubble constant do not match may also indicate that calculating the true age of the universe will take a lot of effort.
New research appears to clarifysituation. According to a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, the results are consistent with data previously obtained by the European Space Agency's Planck astronomical satellite, which measured the CMB from 2009 to 2013.
New data define the Hubble constant of 67.6 kilometers per second per megaparsec. Previously, researchers, based on data obtained by the Planck satellite, estimated the Hubble constant at 67.4 km per second per megaparsec.
Moreover, the new data are also consistent with socalled the Standard Model of Particle Physics, developed in the 1970s and refined in subsequent years. The Standard Model provides scientists with a better understanding of how elementary particles and fundamental forces of nature are related to each other.
In general, the data obtained during the newstudies give scientists more confidence in CMB measurements, and dating the age of the universe at 13.77 billion years is also consistent with the age of the universe previously estimated using data from the Planck satellite. It is also interesting that astronomers recently discovered the most distant and oldest galaxy in the universe.
“Now we have come to an answer in which the data"Planck" and the data obtained with the Atacama Telescope (AST) are consistent with each other, - the words of Simona Iola, one of the authors of the study, quoted by earthsky.org. "The findings show that these complex measurements are reliable."
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The oldest galaxy in the universe
As astronomers peer into the vastness of space, they discover something interesting: a galaxy GN-z11is probably the most distant of allgalaxies ever discovered by scientists. A team of astronomers from the University of Tokyo embarked on a mission to find the most distant galaxy observed to learn more about how and when it formed.
To determine how far GN-z11 is from Earth, astronomers studied galaxy redshift - how much her light has stretched or shiftedto the red end of the spectrum (the farther a space object is from us, the more red the light emanating from it will be). Using a state-of-the-art ground-based spectrograph, an emission line measuring instrument called MOSFIRE, installed on the telescope of the Mauna Kea Astronomical Observatory on the island of Hawaii, astronomers were able to observe and study in detail the emission lines emanating from the galaxy.
Obtained in the course of research published inIn the journal Nature Astronomy, data indicate that the age of the galaxy GN-z11 is approximately 13.77 billion years. This is consistent with data obtained by a team of astronomers from the Paranal Observatory, according to which the age of our universe is 13.77 billion years (plus or minus 40 million years).
In the future, scientists will continue to collect data andto double-check the findings in an attempt to resolve the contradictions in the Hubble constant. One of the study's co-authors, Michael Nimack, believes that the growing tension between the distant and local dimensions of the Hubble constant suggests that researchers may be on the cusp of a new cosmological discovery that could fundamentally change our understanding of how the universe works. In turn, more powerful telescopes, which will begin work in the near future, will help to debunk many of the mysteries of space. Well, let's wait!