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Our universe is actually 27 billion years old, almost double the current age estimate

Picture this: our universe is not the spry 13.7 billion-year-old entity that we once believed it to be. Instead, it could be a grand 26.7 billion years old.

This finding, according to a new study by Rajendra Gupta, adjunct professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, fundamentally changes our understanding of the universe and may solve the puzzle of the “impossible early galaxy problem.”

For years, we’ve been estimating the age of the universe using two primary methods. First, by calculating the time that has passed since the Big Bang, the colossal explosion believed to have birthed our universe. And second, by studying the oldest stars, based on the redshift of light coming from far-off galaxies.

The redshift phenomenon happens when light from an object moving away from us stretches towards the red end of the light spectrum. By measuring this redshift, we’ve been able to calculate the age of the universe.

In 2021, using a model called the Lambda-CDM concordance, scientists estimated the universe to be about 13.797 billion years old.

Stars can’t be older than the universe

But there’s a problem. Some stars, like the Methuselah, appear to be older than the universe itself. And that’s not all. The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered early galaxies that seem to be far too advanced for their age.

These galaxies were around just 300 million years after the Big Bang but had the mass and maturity typically seen in galaxies billions of years old. What’s more, they’re much smaller than we’d expect, adding another piece to the puzzle.

This is where Fritz Zwicky’s tired light theory comes into play. According to this theory, the redshift we see might not be due to galaxies moving away from us. Instead, it might be because light loses energy as it travels across the universe.

Reinterpreting redshift to account for our universe’s age

For a long time, this theory conflicted with what we saw in the universe. But according to Gupta, if we let this theory coexist with an expanding universe, we can reinterpret the redshift as a combination of both these phenomena.

But Gupta didn’t stop there. He also introduced a new idea based on physicist Paul Dirac’s hypothesis about “coupling constants”.

These are fundamental physical rules that control how particles interact. According to Dirac, these constants might have changed over time.

If we let these constants evolve, then the time for early galaxies to form extends from a few hundred million years to several billion years. That could explain why the galaxies we see are so advanced for their age.

Finally, Gupta challenges the traditional interpretation of the “cosmological constant.” This represents dark energy pushing the universe to expand faster.

Instead, he proposes a new constant that accounts for the evolving coupling constants. This change could help us understand why the early galaxies were smaller than expected. It also offers a more accurate picture of the universe.

In the words of Gupta, “Our newly-devised model stretches the galaxy formation time by several billion years, making the universe 26.7 billion years old, and not 13.7 as previously estimated.”

The universe might be much older than we thought, and that could shed light on some of its biggest mysteries.

More about the big bang theory

The Big Bang Theory is the prevailing cosmological model explaining the existence of the observable universe. The theory provides a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena. These include the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and the large scale distribution of galaxies in space.

Here’s a breakdown of the key components of the Big Bang Theory:

The Singularity

The Big Bang Theory postulates that the universe originated from a singularity, a point of infinite density and temperature, approximately 13.8 billion years ago.

A singularity defies our current understanding of physics. To fully understand it would require a unification of general relativity (which describes gravity) and quantum mechanics (which describes the behavior of particles at the smallest scales).

The Expansion

The term “Big Bang” might conjure images of an explosion. However, it’s more accurate to think of it as an expansion. Instead of matter exploding into a pre-existing space, space itself has been and continues to expand, carrying galaxies with it.

This theory of an expanding universe was first proposed by Georges Lemaître, a Belgian physicist. It was later confirmed by Edwin Hubble’s observations that distant galaxies were moving away from us in every direction.

This is often described as the “redshift” because the light from these galaxies shifts towards the longer (and redder) wavelengths as they move away from us.

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)

The CMB is one of the key pieces of evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory. It’s the afterglow left from the hot, dense state of the early universe, and it permeates the entire cosmos.

In the 1960s, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidentally discovered the CMB while using a radio telescope for a different experiment. The uniformity of this radiation in every direction was one of the major confirmations of the Big Bang Theory.

Abundance of Light Elements

The Big Bang Theory explains the observed abundance of light elements (like hydrogen, helium, and lithium) in the universe. In the first few minutes after the Big Bang, conditions were right for nuclear fusion to occur. This created these light elements in a process known as Big Bang nucleosynthesis.

Large Scale Structure of the Universe

The Big Bang Theory also provides a framework for understanding the large scale structure of the universe, including the distribution of galaxies and galaxy clusters, which is believed to be influenced by the distribution of dark matter.


In the first fraction of a second after the universe began, it’s thought to have undergone a rapid expansion known as inflation. This concept, proposed by physicist Alan Guth in the 1980s, helps explain why the universe appears homogeneous (or similar) in all directions and resolves other long-standing puzzles in cosmology.

The Big Bang Theory is supported by a wide range of observations and provides the basis for our understanding of the universe’s history and its current structure. It’s important to note that the theory continues to evolve as new observations are made and as physicists refine their models to better reflect the data.

Cosmologists are actively researching topics like dark energy, dark matter, and the nature of the universe’s expansion. This research could further refine our understanding of the Big Bang and the history of the universe.

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