Something is mysteriously inhibiting the growth of the universe, new study finds

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A team of researchers from the University of Michigan have discovered that something is mysteriously suppressing the growth of large-scale structures in the universe as it continues to accelerate its expansion.

Releasing the findings: Published in Physical Review Letters on Sept. 11, the study was led by astrophysicist and cosmologist Minh Nguyen, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan's Department of Physics. Nguyen worked with University of Michigan professor Dragan Huterer and graduate student Yuewei Wen.

What they found: The team reportedly discovered that large-scale structures in the universe, such as galaxy clusters and galactic filaments, are being suppressed by dark energy, the same energy that accelerates the expansion of the universe.

In the study, Nguyen explained that gravity “acts like an amplifier enhancing matter perturbations to grow into large-scale structure” while dark energy "acts like an attenuator damping these perturbations and slowing the growth of structure.”

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By examining how cosmic structure has been clustering and growing, we can try to understand the nature of gravity and dark energy,” Nguyen said.

How they did it: The researchers reportedly used several cosmological probes for the study. They looked at the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the remnant radiation made up of photons emitted right after the Big Bang.

Since examining the CMB is like looking into the universe's past, the team reportedly used motions of nearby galaxies in the local universe to study the growth of large-scale structures from the past until now.

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Their conclusion: Nguyen noted that the "difference in these growth rates that we have potentially discovered becomes more prominent as we approach the present day."

These different probes individually and collectively indicate a growth suppression. Either we are missing some systematic errors in each of these probes, or we are missing some new, late-time physics in our standard model,” she added.


 

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