March 4, 2024

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Distant quasars reveal that time was much slower 13 billion years ago

Distant quasars reveal that time was much slower 13 billion years ago

When the universe was only a billion years old, time moved five times slower than it does now. This is evidenced by the complex “time clock codes” for quasars that astronomers first cracked. After observing 190 quasars, it turns out that Einstein was right again.

Australian scientists user Telescope data for looking very deeply into the universe at the behavior of distant quasars. A quasar is a supermassive black hole located at the center of a very distant active galaxy that acts like a clock. These giant space objects have a disk around them that emits matter, light and radiation and is therefore very bright. The team analyzed light signals of different wavelengths from the distant past. For example, they proved to be an important part of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and showed how the universe and time expand in practice after the Big Bang.

Everything is relative
“If we look back at a time when the universe was only a billion years old, time moves about five times slower from our perspective,” says lead researcher Professor Geraint Lewis from Sydney. “If you are out there in this very small universe, you feel that nothing is wrong, a second feels like a second. But if you look from the present and from where we are, over 12 billion years later, early time seems to have slowed down a lot.”

Everything was in slow motion
Lewis and his New Zealand colleague Brendon Brewer analyzed observational data from nearly 200 quasars, which were once the centers of early galaxies. “Thanks to Einstein, we know that time and space are entangled. And that since the beginning of time, starting with the Big Bang singularity, the universe has been expanding. This means that our observations of the early universe should appear to us much slower than the speed at which time passes today. In this study, we looked Go back about a billion years after the Big Bang and we were able to determine the relative speed of time very accurately,” says Lewis.

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Cosmic fireworks show
Previous astronomical research showed that the universe was moving in slow motion when it was half its age now. For this, a supernova, or the phenomenon of a star exploding in an amazing way and emitting a huge amount of light, was used as a “standard clock”. But supernovae, despite their brilliance, are difficult to observe at the extreme distances required to look into the early universe. This is now possible with quasars. The time horizon can be reversed by up to 90 percent. “Exploding stars emit a single flash of light, which makes them easier to study. Quasars are more complex, like the huge fireworks show that is going on right now,” explains Professor Lewis. “We have been able to decipher this fireworks display and demonstrate that quasars can also be used as analog clocks to investigate the behavior of time in the distant past.”

“virtual clock”
The quasar data spans two decades of optical signals. The researchers combined the different wavelengths of green, red, and infrared colors, and were able to identify a standard “mark” of the “hour” for each individual quasar. Using statistical analysis, they discovered the subtle expansion of the universe, as evidenced by quasar pulses. “With this fantastic data, we were able to see how each quasar’s clock ticks. This allowed us to calculate the influence of the expanding universe,” says Lewis.

Einstein was right
The results confirm Einstein’s theory of the expansion of the universe, but contradict previous studies that failed to detect time dilation using distant quasars. “Because of previous studies, we have wondered if quasars are real space objects. Doubts have arisen about the idea of ​​an expanding universe. But with this new data and analysis we have been able to remove all doubt. We have solved the hard-to-decipher ‘fireworks display’ and now we know how,” Knock said. “Quasars. They behave exactly as Einstein’s theory of relativity predicted,” Lewis concludes.

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