A new paper published by a team of cosmologists at the University of Manchester suggests that the Universe in curved, contrary to previous models.
Lead researcher Dr Eleonora Di Valentino and her colleagues based their study on measurements of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies, the direction in which radiation in space is moving. The precise measurements of CMB anisotropies can determine with a high degree of accuracy the shape of the Universe.
The data generated by the Planck satellite suggests a Universe with a positive curvature. This research challenges the current flat model of our Universe. In the previously flat model of the Universe, two parallel lines will constantly travel and never meet. However, in the event of a curved universe, the two lines will meet.
These findings suggest that the existing inflationary theory, a theory describing the evolution of the Universe after the Big Bang, may no longer apply to our universe.
The author describes: “The recent Planck Legacy 2018 release has confirmed the presence of an enhanced lensing amplitude in cosmic microwave background power spectra compared with that predicted in the standard Λ cold dark matter model, where Λ is the cosmological constant.
“A closed Universe can provide a physical explanation for this effect, with the Planck cosmic microwave background spectra now preferring a positive curvature at more than the 99% confidence level.”
This new theory has suggested that the Universe is nearly flat, however it is 4% more curved than once believed. The research drives a wedge between the Planck cosmologists data and other data sets such as those from the BOSS DR14 survey.
Commenting on the results, Dr Di Valentino said; “The current cosmological scenario, based on inflation, dark matter, and a cosmological constant, seems unable to fit all observations.”
She continued; “Experimental systematics can still play a role, and it will be the duty of future experiments to scrutinise current discordances. At the moment, however, the idea of a concordance cosmology is undoubtedly under pressure.”