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07-07-2024

Dark matter may consist of particles that travel faster than light speed

Have you ever wondered about the secrets of the universe? Dark matter, dark energy, particles that move with lightning speed – these are the central focus of recent cosmic mysteries. Imagine we’ve been sharing our universe with particles that travel faster than light, known as tachyons.

This is the audacious new theory presented by scientists Samuel H. Kramer from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Ian H. Redmount from Saint Louis University.

Dark matter and dark energy

Dark matter and dark energy have been the “elephant in the universe” for scientists. These entities make up about 95% of the universe, but much about them remains a mystery.

Dark matter, making up 27%, is like the universe’s invisible hand, influencing the movement of galaxies and galaxy clusters.

Dark energy, making up 68%, is like the universe’s hidden fuel, driving the accelerated expansion of the universe. The new theory surrounding tachyons might shed some light on these enigmatic parts of our cosmos.

The race against light

In the world of hypothetical particles, tachyons are the rebels, the non-conformists. Einstein’s theory of relativity made the speed of light the cosmic speed limit, but tachyons laugh at these rules.

They supposedly travel faster than light. Kramer’s and Redmount’s paper suggests a universe dominated by these cheeky particles might still fit within the framework of modern physics.

If tachyons exist, they would possess properties that could influence cosmic phenomena in ways we haven’t imagined yet.

The peculiar properties of tachyons

The experts propose a new model where the universe initially slows down before speeding up, a process they call “inflected expansion.”

This shakes up the standard Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model, which attributes acceleration to dark energy.

In this new model, the pace of the universe’s expansion is influenced by the peculiar properties of tachyons.

Their speed, faster than light, gives them a unique form of kinetic energy that causes the shift from deceleration to acceleration.

To provide proof, the team used data from Type Ia supernovae, the “standard candles” of the universe. Their consistent luminosity makes them a reliable measure of distances across the universe.

Fitting their model to observed supernova data, the researchers found that a tachyonic universe could explain the observed acceleration.

Key findings of the study

The study examined two datasets of Type Ia supernovae to test a new cosmological model. The Hubble parameter (H0) measures the universe’s expansion rate. It’s expressed in kilometers per second per megaparsec (km/s/Mpc).

The smaller dataset had 186 supernovae. It showed an H0 value of 66.6 ± 1.5 km/s/Mpc. This means the universe expands by 66.6 kilometers per second for every megaparsec of distance, with a margin of error of ±1.5 km/s/Mpc. The age of the universe from this dataset is about 8.35 ± 0.68 billion years.

The larger dataset had 1048 supernovae. It showed a slightly higher H0 value of 69.6 ± 0.4 km/s/Mpc. This suggests a faster expansion rate, with a smaller margin of error of ±0.4 km/s/Mpc. The universe’s age from this dataset is about 8.15 ± 0.36 billion years.

These findings align with existing models like the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model. This agreement means the new tachyon-based model could be a valid alternative.

The new theory suggests that tachyons, particles moving faster than light, might make up dark matter.

What if tachyons are real?

If tachyons are proven real, it would revolutionize our understanding of physics, potentially upending existing theories and unveiling new avenues for research.

Despite criticism and skepticism from the scientific community, the duo’s model aligns well with current supernova data.

The implications could extend beyond cosmology, impacting fields like particle physics and general relativity.

However, the tachyonic model must endure further testing and rigorous peer review before gaining acceptance.

Future research directions

Future research will compare this model with other cosmological data, including the cosmic microwave background and quasar microlensing.

This explorative journey will help determine if tachyons can truly explain the universe’s accelerated expansion.

The discovery of tachyons could have implications far beyond cosmology. It might even lead to new technologies based on faster-than-light travel, though that’s purely speculative.

Theoretical physicists would need to rewrite many principles, and new frameworks might emerge.

As with any revolutionary theory, it’s essential to get everyone on board. Researchers across various fields will need to test and refine the tachyonic model.

Collaborative efforts would result in designing new experiments and observations to detect tachyons or their effects.

Validating the tachyon model

The research will need rigorous scrutiny by other experts in the field through the peer-review process. This crucial step will determine the credibility of the new theory.

If validated, this model could revolutionize our understanding of the universe’s past and future. It might reveal the nature of dark matter and its role in forming galaxies. It could also clarify anomalies in the cosmic microwave background and galaxy distribution.

The study is published in arXiv.

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