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Evidence Is Flimsy for Universe Expanding at an Accelerating Rate Says Oxford Physicist

Friday, October 21, 2016 21:47
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Five years ago, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astronomers for their discovery, in the late 1990s, that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.

Their conclusions were based on analysis of Type Ia supernovae – the spectacular thermonuclear explosion of dying stars – picked up by the Hubble space telescope and large ground-based telescopes. It led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that the universe is dominated by a mysterious substance named ‘dark energy’ that drives this accelerating expansion.

Now, a team of scientists led by Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics has cast doubt on this standard cosmological concept. Making use of a vastly increased data set – a catalog of 740 Type Ia supernovae, more than ten times the original sample size – the researchers have found that the evidence for acceleration may be flimsier than previously thought, with the data being consistent with a constant rate of expansion.

Artist’s illustration of a Type 1a Supernova

Credit: NASA

The study is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Professor Sarkar, who also holds a position at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said: ‘The discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe won the Nobel Prize, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. It led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that the universe is dominated by “dark energy” that behaves like a cosmological constant – this is now the “standard model” of cosmology.

‘However, there now exists a much bigger database of supernovae on which to perform rigorous and detailed statistical analyses. We analysed the latest catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae – over ten times bigger than the original samples on which the discovery claim was based – and found that the evidence for accelerated expansion is, at most, what physicists call “3 sigma”. This is far short of the “5 sigma” standard required to claim a discovery of fundamental significance.

‘An analogous example in this context would be the recent suggestion for a new particle weighing 750 GeV based on data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It initially had even higher significance – 3.9 and 3.4 sigma in December last year – and stimulated over 500 theoretical papers. However, it was announced in August that new data shows that the significance has dropped to less than 1 sigma. It was just a statistical fluctuation, and there is no such particle.’

There is other data available that appears to support the idea of an accelerating universe, such as information on the cosmic microwave background – the faint afterglow of the Big Bang – from the Planck satellite. However, Professor Sarkar said: ‘All of these tests are indirect, carried out in the framework of an assumed model, and the cosmic microwave background is not directly affected by dark energy. Actually, there is indeed a subtle effect, the late-integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, but this has not been convincingly detected.

Credit: Ann Feild (STScI)

‘So it is quite possible that we are being misled and that the apparent manifestation of dark energy is a consequence of analysing the data in an oversimplified theoretical model – one that was in fact constructed in the 1930s, long before there was any real data. A more sophisticated theoretical framework accounting for the observation that the universe is not exactly homogeneous and that its matter content may not behave as an ideal gas – two key assumptions of standard cosmology – may well be able to account for all observations without requiring dark energy. Indeed, vacuum energy is something of which we have absolutely no understanding in fundamental theory.’

Professor Sarkar added: ‘Naturally, a lot of work will be necessary to convince the physics community of this, but our work serves to demonstrate that a key pillar of the standard cosmological model is rather shaky. Hopefully this will motivate better analyses of cosmological data, as well as inspiring theorists to investigate more nuanced cosmological models. Significant progress will be made when the European Extremely Large Telescope makes observations with an ultrasensitive “laser comb” to directly measure over a ten to 15-year period whether the expansion rate is indeed accelerating.’

Contacts and sources:

Stuart Gillespie

University of Oxford

Citation: Marginal evidence for cosmic acceleration from Type Ia supernovae
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 35596 (2016)


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Total 4 comments
  • VirusGuard

    No, No , No you cannot say that because these scientists have discovered “Dark Energy” that is the oposite of “Black Mass” and pushes thing apart at a faster rate and speeds up the process of the exspanding universe.

    Now said scientists cannot show you this dark energy or black mass because they are just numbers used to cook the books in computer simulations use to show you nice pictures of black holes to suport the big bang theory but you are being feed a load of bullshit

    in fact scientists cannot even agree on gravity being a repalent force or attractive force just after the big bang because both teams can build computer simulations that more or less match the so called back ground radation map we keep being shown from 13.7bn years ago.

    We are so smart that we don’t even know why some moons circle the wrong way around plannets

    My X-box has gravity, it’s done with numbers and yes we are living in some type of computer simulation and this might be why we can find nothing physical to account for gravity

    • deano

      Gday VG. How can we trust anything, that the “Scientific” community tells us……..

      In the mid 1800s, “Darwinism” & “Astronomy” were taking absolute control away from the church>Doubters. To stem , control, and make any findings “compatible with Bible Timelines”…….

      ## SCIENTIFIC LAZZARONIN ~ the Emeritus “Theologians & Philosophers” set up the new National Academy of Sciences…….and the SMITHSONIAN(to control artifacts)

      to ridicule,slander, censor any theory that didnt align with theirs……
      ## Notice how all scientific names are in LATIN, or new “celestial bodies’ found by NASA etc are named after Roman (+ Greek) mythology gods……

      ## NOTE## I discovered this little “gem of info” by researching P.J.KLASS,(Mr UFO debunker). He would only pay the “$10 000 Reward” , if a UFO sighting was confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences……..a “Control Panel” of Jesuit Doctors of Theology & Philosophy(science)……

      Gravity?….its a bit like wind, we cant see it, but know its there! The one metre Rise & Fall of the Tides, shows us that the moon’s gravity, can indeed effect ‘masses’ on earth…….

    • deano

      Scientific “LAZARONI” is the term……Lazarus of the Bible maybe?

      they tell us it was named after the ‘poor , philosophers’ of this Roman suburb…..Emeritus Proffessors?

      I repeated post ‘twice’ because I thought they had deleted it………

      and this little ‘nugget of info’ (illumination), explains why nothing, no theory, is ever promoted unless it comes from a
      PhD University trained scientist…….

      eg > Michael S. Heiser (SITCHIN is WRONG)……….a “Christian author”(theologian) , and an expert of Assyriology (cunieform)…..trained at WISCONSIN (Illuminati EYE + trained Dick CHENEY + Ebola ).

      MY POINT BINNERS????……Before I listen to any Scientist, I first look at where they received their PhD.

      Doctor of PHILOSOPHY(+ theologians). The more “Vocal” these agenda pushes are, the more JESUIT the collegium , Liepzig (Merkel, atomic Teller, NAZI rocket scientists) the German/Nazi connection.
      Puppets like Pikachoo kiko, or Neil de grasse Tyson the “international race’ token black/asian guy/voice
      Its failing! The House of Lords(Oxford Priests) is now using Angel-ina Jolie (womens persecution)
      The UN House (sorority) is now using Linda CARTER….as WONDER WOMAN again :wink:

  • deano

    We cant believe anything from the scientific community because it was infiltrated/set up from the very start…..

    # SCIENTIC LAZZAROINI# The Jesuit Collegium “Theologians & Philosophers” , that started the National Academy of Sciences……also the SMITHSONIAN(gather artifacts).
    To offset the new challenges of “Darwinism & Archaeology”(fossils) , they controlled the new theories from the outset.
    A scientist is only endorsed, if aligned with the “National Emeritus Priest Academy”……..

    @# P.J.KLASS (Mr UFO Debunker). Ex General Electric, turned “CIA” Avionics Weekly editor. Who would only pay the “$10 000 Reward” of a UFO sighting, if “Confirmed” by the National Academy of Sciences…….

    # We all know that scientific names are in LATIN, and all new “celestial bodies” found by NASA scientists are named after ROMAN(+ Greek) mythology gods…… Ceres & “Apollo” missions, TITAN rockets etc……..

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