That's strange: New research shows that the Universe is 26.7 billion years old


Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 13 July 2023, at 10:08 pm PDT

A recent study has put forward an intriguing proposition that challenges the established cosmological model and offers a fresh perspective on the mystery surrounding early galaxies. The findings suggest that our universe may be twice as old as previously estimated, indicating a span of 26.7 billion years rather than the commonly accepted 13.7 billion years. The research was conducted by Rajendra Gupta, an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Ottawa.

Since ancient times, scientists have sought to determine the age of our universe by meticulously measuring the time elapsed since the occurrence of the Big Bang. Additionally, they have examined the characteristics of the oldest stars, relying on the redshift of light emanating from distant galaxies. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, the Lambda-CDM concordance model has been employed to estimate the age of our universe as 13.797 billion years, as of 2021.

Nonetheless, certain anomalies have perplexed scientists for years. Stars like Methuselah, for instance, appear to defy the estimated age of the universe, and the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed the existence of early galaxies that exhibit an advanced state of evolution merely 300 million years after the Big Bang. These galaxies possess levels of maturity and mass that typically require billions of years of cosmic development. Intriguingly, they are also remarkably diminutive in size, further adding to the enigmatic nature of the puzzle.

In an effort to make sense of these observations, Gupta revisited Zwicky's tired light theory. This theory suggests that the redshift of light from distant galaxies occurs due to the gradual dissipation of energy by photons during their journey across immense cosmic distances. However, this concept has clashed with observational data. Gupta, however, discovered a potential resolution by reconciling the theory with the expanding universe. A new interpretation emerges by considering the redshift as a hybrid phenomenon influenced by both expansion and tired light.

Expanding upon Zwicky's tired light theory, Gupta introduces the notion of evolving "coupling constants," originally proposed by Paul Dirac. These constants are fundamental physical parameters governing particle interactions, and according to Dirac, they might have undergone variations throughout cosmic history. By allowing these coupling constants to evolve, the timeframe for the formation of early galaxies, as observed by the Webb telescope at high redshifts, can be extended from a few hundred million years to several billion years. This revised perspective offers a plausible explanation for the advanced level of development and substantial mass exhibited by these ancient galaxies.

Gupta challenges the conventional understanding of the "cosmological constant," which represents dark energy driving the universe's accelerating expansion. Instead, he suggests a revised constant that accounts for the evolving nature of coupling constants. This modification to the cosmological model facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the enigmatic small galaxy sizes observed in the early universe and enables more precise astronomical observations.

The research has been published in the Monthly Notices of The Astronomical Society.

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