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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Einstein proved right on view of universe



Einstein proved right on view of universe

Accurate
March 30: Albert Einstein has been proved correct in his view of how the universe is expanding, according to a scientific study released today.
The new test of Einstein's view of the universe has proved him right with "incredible accuracy" and is helping scientists to understand the mysterious acceleration of the universe. A team of cosmologists have announced at the National Astronomy Meeting, being held at the University of Manchester, the most accurate measurement ever made about when the expansion of the universe began to accelerate.
It means that the phenomenon can be explained using just Einstein's general theory of relativity and the cosmological constant — the simplest theoretical explanation for the acceleration of the universe.
The results will be used to understand what is causing the acceleration and why, and will shed new light on dark energy — the name adopted for the fundamental agent driving the acceleration about which little is known.
The cosmologists from the University of Portsmouth and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have examined the period between five and six billion years ago when the universe was almost half its present age and made measurements of extraordinary accuracy — within 1.7 per cent.
The findings support Einstein's general theory of relativity which predicts how fast galaxies, separated by large distances, should be moving towards one another and at what rate the structure of the universe should be growing.
The conclusions are consistent with the concordance model of a universe that bloomed from the big bang 13.7 million years ago. Team member Rita Tojeiro said: "The results are the best measurement of an intergalactic distance ever made, which means cosmologists are closer than ever to understanding why the universe's expansion is accelerating.
"'One of the great things about Einstein's general theory of relativity is that it is testable. Our results support the theory and are fully consistent with the notion that constant vacuum energy — empty space creating a repulsive force — is driving the acceleration of the universe.
"These are profound statements that describe the physics of our universe at the most fundamental level.
"Critically, the results find no evidence that dark energy is simply an illusion stemming from our poor understanding of the laws of gravity — Einstein's theory has passed its most stringent test yet at extra-galactic scales."
The experiment was designed to follow up on an observation made in 1998, when scientists studied the brightness of mighty stellar explosions to deduce that the universe's expansion is, against all odds and against our understanding of fundamental physics, becoming increasingly fast.
The new discoveries are based on work by a collaboration of astronomers from across the globe representing the Baryon Acoustic Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, part of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH