Have we discovered a ‘crack’ in the fabric of the universe?

What at first glance appears to be a simple pair of galaxies billions of light-years away, scientists have thought is possible, but until now no one has been able to see: a ‘folding’ universe in its very structure, or rather, a ‘cosmic string’.

Cosmic strings are a type of ‘flaws’ in the topology of space, one-dimensional, line-shaped cracks that formed after the Big Bang and then ‘stretched’ due to the expansion of the universe. .

As explained in a soon-to-be-published study led by Margarita Safonova from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics at the Société Royale des Sciences of Liège in Belgium, the two galaxies cannot be two different objects, but rather a duplicate image of a single galaxy due to a light effect known as ‘gravitational lensing’, which is a very Occurs when a larger object gets in the way of a light beam emitted by another more distant object. A massive object, usually a galaxy or cluster, distorts space and forces light to bend into distortions, magnifications, or duplications that can be seen by astronomers.

But according to the study, it can now be consulted on the prepublications server arXivThe researchers believe that the cause of the light doubling in this case is not a single galaxy or group of them, but a cosmic rope, a long ‘scar’ in space that opens between us and the galactic replica.

These two fuzzy dots are not two separate galaxies, but evidence of a cosmic string

Safonova et al

width of a proton

According to the theory, cosmic strings are incredibly dense and massive, and are at most the width of a proton, although their length could span the entire universe. As easy as it is to imagine, if these objects exist, they are more difficult to observe because the effects they produce are closely similar to those caused by other types of phenomena.

However, Safonova and her team have already identified several cosmic strings in a field of space known as CSc-1, which is identified in the cosmic microwave background, radiation left over from the Big Bang and permeating the entire universe. However, they decided to focus their paper on what appears to be a strong and clear cosmic string called SDSSJ110429.61+233150.3, or SDSSJ110429 for short.

A very specific lens

The fact is that unlike most gravitational lenses, there does not appear to be a large mass between us and SDSSJ110429 in the foreground. And its rays don’t seem to have suffered much degradation. So, of course, Safonova and her colleagues did a detailed analysis of the light from both galaxies. Both were found to have nearly identical spectra; That is, the light from each galaxy was clearly duplicated in the other. Both galaxies appear to have the same shape and size, and are about the same distance from us. What you can expect from gravitational lensing replicas. But if there is no massive mass between those galaxies and us capable of bending their light, what would create a gravitational lens?

Most models of cosmic strings treat them as very long straight lines, imperfections in space like the wrinkles that form in the sheet that covers our bed. But Safonova and her team calculated that apparent pairs of galaxies like the one observed could change orientation and bend the rope.

According to the researcher, “Considering a cosmic string model with curvature in the image plane may improve the search for candidates for GL events. In particular, modeling the galaxy pair SDSSJ110429-A,B, the observed angle between the components of the pair, if the chord is strongly tilted to match the line of sight, and the chord is curved in the plane of the image.” shows that it can be explained.”.

However, although very promising, the observation is still not indisputable evidence of a cosmic rope. To do this, researchers need to gather more evidence. What is undeniable is that, at the very least, it has opened up a new path to finding these elusive substances.

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