Unlocking one of Einstein’s expanding universe’s mysteries, scientists have for the first time observed the early universe moving in extremely sluggish motion.
According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, we should witness the distant – and thus ancient universe moving much more slowly than it does at present.
However, looking back so far in time has proven challenging. Using quasars as clocks, scientists have now deciphered this enigma.
Professor Geraint Lewis of the School of Physics and Sydney Institute of Astronomy at the University of Sydney, the study’s main author, said that time appeared to move five times more slowly when the universe was just over a billion years old.
From our vantage point, more than 12 billion years into the future, time in the early universe appears to linger.
Professor Lewis and Dr. Brendon Brewer of the University of Auckland analyzed this time dilation using data from nearly 200 quasars with hyperactive supermassive black holes at the cores of early galaxies.
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Time and Space Intertwined in an Expanding Universe
Professor Lewis stated that, as a result of Einstein’s work, we know that time and space are intertwined and that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.
This implies that observations of the early universe should appear substantially slower than the current rate of time flow.
This paper establishes that back to approximately one billion years after the Big Bang.
Using supernovae and enormous exploding stars as standard clocks, astronomers have previously confirmed the existence of this universe in slow motion back to roughly half the age of the universe.
However, supernovae are challenging to observe at the vast distances required to view the early universe.
This time horizon has been rolled back to just a tenth of the age of the universe by observing quasars, confirming that the universe appears to be accelerating with time.
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