A group of scientists created a computer simulation of the universe in order to test an alternative theory to Albertn Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Their study revealed that galaxies similar to our own Milky Way could still be formed in the universe with modified laws of gravity, suggesting that the theory of relativity is not the only way to do this. explain the role of gravity in the evolution of the universe.
Physicists from the University of Durham in England have created computer simulations with the help of an alternative gravity model called 'gravity (f)', also called 'Chameleon Theory', which modifies the behavior of gravity according to the surrounding environment. The simulations showed that the modified gravity model could still lead to the formation of galaxies.
Related: The theory of Einstein's relativity explained (infographic)
"Severed theories of gravity, including [the] The Chameleon theory, has been studied by the community for a while, and many of their predictions are known, "Baojiu Li, a physicist at the Institute of Computational Cosmology at the University, told Space.com Durham and co-author of the new study. "However, the majority of these previous studies have been conducted with a critical simplification – the assumption that the universe contains only dark matter, and no luminous matter."
One of the unanswered questions in cosmology is why the universe is expanding, said Li, and other models have attempted to answer this question by introducing an unknown force called black energy. This constant force in the theory of general relativity can explain the expansion of the universe, but by including a large amount of dark matter that can not be observed and remains unconfirmed.
Scientists believe that about 68% of the universe is made up of black energy, while dark matter accounts for 27%. Normal matter, which includes bodies visible to us, such as planets, stars, and galaxies, accounts for about 5%.
"However, the alternatives to a cosmological constant, which explain the accelerated expansion by modifying the law of gravity, like the physical gravitation f (R), are also largely taken into account given the little knowledge we have about black energy, "added Li.
The study also examined the effect of modified gravity on supermassive black holes, which eject heat and materials that burn the gas needed for star formation. The energy emitted by black holes also feeds the nuclei found in galaxies and therefore plays a major role in the formation of galaxies.
However, the results suggest that even with different laws of gravity reducing the amount of heat ejected by black holes, galaxies have always formed in the simulated model of the universe, just as in the real universe .
"The study itself says nothing about the validity of general relativity, but it points to possible ways to try to distinguish the theory of chameleons from general relativity with future data," said Li.
The researchers plan to test their observations using the Square Kilometer System, a group of radio telescopes in Australia and South Africa, which is expected to be operational by mid-2020.
The study was published in Nature Astronomy on July 8th.
Original article on Space.com.