The expansion of the universe could be a mirage, new theoretical study suggests

The expansion of the cosmos could be a myth, according to new study on the cosmological constant issue.

A potentially contentious new research argues that the universe's expansion could be an illusion.

This new perspective on the cosmos offers solutions to the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, which scientists say make up around 95% of the universe's total energy and matter yet are still a mystery.

In a work published on June 2 in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, Lucas Lombriser, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Geneva, describes the revolutionary new technique.

Redshift, or the stretching of light's wavelength towards the redder end of the spectrum as the source of the light travels away from us, is how scientists know the universe is expanding. The fact that distant galaxies have a higher redshift than those that are nearby suggests that they are traveling away from Earth faster.

More recently, researchers have discovered proof that the universe's expansion isn't constant but is really speeding. The cosmological constant, or lambda, is a word that describes this rapid expansion.

Cosmologists have struggled with the cosmological constant since estimates of its value made by particle physics diverge from actual measurements by a factor of 120. Therefore, it has been said that the cosmological constant is "the worst prediction in the history of physics."

Cosmologists sometimes propose new particles or physical forces to explain the disparity between the various values of lambda, whereas Lombriser approaches it by rethinking what is already in place.

In our study, we execute a mathematical transformation of the physical rules that govern it, which gives us a new set of lenses through which to see the world and its unresolved mysteries, Lombriser told Live Science via email.

According to Lombriser's mathematical interpretation, the world is flat and stagnant rather than expanding, contrary to what Einstein previously thought. Instead, the effects we see that indicate expansion are explained by how the masses of particles, such protons and electrons, have changed through time.

In this illustration, a field that pervades space-time gives rise to these particles. The mass of the field, which determines the cosmological constant, changes, and as a result, so do the masses of the particles it produces. However, in this concept, rather than the universe expanding, the change in the cosmological constant is caused by changing particle masses over time.

The model predicts greater redshifts for far-off galaxy clusters than conventional cosmological models due to these field fluctuations. The cosmological constant so continues to behave as predicted by the hypothesis.

In this new understanding of the world, the cosmological constant problem "simply seems to disappear," said Lombriser.

How to create a dark universe

The nature of dark matter is one of the major issues that Lombriser's new paradigm addresses. Although the particles of this invisible substance outnumber those of conventional matter five to one, it is still unknown since it doesn't interact with light.

Axions are hypothetical particles that have been proposed as one possibility for dark matter, and Lombriser argued that oscillations in the field may also behave as a "axion field."

Dark energy, a fictitious force that is thought to be pulling the fabric of space apart and accelerating the separation of galaxies, may also be eliminated by these oscillations. According to Lombriser, under this theory, the impact of dark energy would be accounted for by particle masses following a different evolutionary route later in the universe.

According to this scenario, "there is, in principle, no need for dark energy," Lombriser said.

Luz ngela Garca, a post-doctoral researcher at the Universidad ECCI in Bogotá, Colombia, was intrigued by Lombriser's novel interpretation and the number of issues it overcomes.

The report is intriguing and offers an unconventional solution to several cosmological challenges, according to Garca, who was not part in the study, who spoke to Live Science. "The theory offers a channel for the cosmological tensions at the moment."

Garca advised care when evaluating the paper's conclusions, noting that many aspects of its theoretical model are probably not going to be able to be seen, at least not anytime soon.