Space-time proved to be more homogeneous than expected


24/08/2012

These results gave the intergalactic photo finish. Physicist Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University, came to these weighty conclusions by examining the record of arrival of three photons of different wavelengths, which was made by the Cosmic Fermi gamma-ray telescope in May 2009.

These photons originated at a distance of 7 billion light-years from Earth, in the course of one of the three pulses of gamma-ray bursts, and arrived at the orbiting telescope almost at the same time, with an interval of one millisecond.

Gamma bursts - is short periods of gamma-ray photons that are with the highest energy. They can come to us from the most remote parts of the universe and astronomers believe may be caused by the collision of giant stars, often billions of years before the formation of the Earth.

"Gamma-ray bursts can tell some interesting things about our universe," - skzal Nemiroff. In this case, these three photons recorded Fermi telescope showed that the space-time may not be as intermittent or "blistered", as some scientists.

Some theories of quantum gravity say that the universe is not smooth, but is similar to the foam, and consists of the fundamental units called Planck length, the size of which is less than one trillionth of a trillionth the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Planck length so small that there is no way to detect them, except such as those photons constituting the color bursts.

The fact that the wavelength of these photons are among the shortest distances known in the art - they are so small that they can interact with the Planck length. And in the case of interaction with them, the photons have to scatter, passing through the Planck length.

In particular, they should disperse in different directions, in the case of different wavelengths, like the ball for table tennis and for tennis ball will fall on different trajectories, if they descend from the slope of a bumpy mountain.

For short distances, such dispersion is not noticeable, but in light of the passage of billions of light years, the Planck length should have a noticeable effect on the light. Consequently, three photons of gamma-ray bursts would not get to the Fermi telescope is actually a time.

But they arrived at the same time, and this calls into question the frothiness space-time. "We have shown that the universe is homogeneous," - said Nemiroff. "This means there is no obvious discontinuity. This is a very interesting discovery, and we are extremely pleased."

Original: Phys.org


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