Confirmation of Big Bang Theory Might Just Have Been Space Dust

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 2:33PM
Science News
Astrophysics
Friday, 30 May 2014 - 2:33PM
Confirmation of Big Bang Theory Might Just Have Been Space Dust

Last March, the BICEP2 telescope captured images that seemed to confirm the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. While these findings have not exactly been disproven, multiple studies have now shown that what looked like proof of the Big Bang theory might have simply been galactic dust. 

 

According to the Big Bang theory, in the fractions of a second after the bang itself, there was a period of inflation. The Universe was expanding rapidly, and as a result formed primordial ripples in spacetime, or gravitational waves. The images taken by the BICEP2 seemed to indirectly capture these waves, but scientists working with the Planck telescope are now claiming that the original experiment did not account for interference caused by dust from the Millky Way galaxy. This interference could have been strong enough to cause the effects that were interpreted as gravitational waves. 

 

Credit: Ojocientifico

 

Uros Seljak, an astrophysicist at UC Berkeley and a co-author of the latest study, said, "Based on what we know right now…we have no evidence for or against gravitational waves."

 

This is the second experiment to find that the original researchers did not account for dust interference. 

 

Although gravitational waves are predicted by the Big Bang theory and Einstein's theory of general relativity, there have been many failed attempts to prove their existence. The BICEP2 was specifically designed to detect the patterns of polarized radiation from within the microwave radiation in order to indirectly image the predicted ripples of spacetime. John Kovac et al, the researchers working with the BICEP2, believed that they were successful, but the scientific community is now forced to reevaluate their conclusions. 

 

The BICEP2:

 

Credit: Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station

 

Professor Bangalore Sathyaprakash, a theoretical physicist at Cardiff University, claimed that the researchers failed to estimate their findings' statistical significance when making their conclusions, but also states that "this is not the final word. What is important now is to get data in the sky from different channels because the missing thing is the lack of data to accurately estimate the foreground part of the sky and to take into account the effects of the galactic dust."

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