Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

One-Percent Measure of the Universe Constrains Dark Energy

09.01.2014
At the January AAS meeting, researchers from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) announced that they have measured the distance to galaxies more than six billion light years away to an accuracy of one percent.
Together with information on the rate at which the Universe was expanding, these measurements allow the scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics to place powerful constraints on the properties of the mysterious Dark Energy.

This component is thought to be responsible for the current accelerated expansion of the Universe.

The new distance measurements were presented at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society by Harvard University astronomer Daniel Eisenstein, the director of SDSS-III. They are detailed in a series of articles submitted by the BOSS collaboration last month and available online. "Determining distance is a fundamental challenge of observational astronomy," said Eisenstein. "You see something in the sky -- how far away is it?"

Distances to planets in the solar system can be measured very accurately using radar, but for more distant objects astronomers must turn to less direct methods. Only a few hundred stars and a small number of star clusters are close enough to have distances measured with one-percent accuracy. Nearly all of these stars are only a few thousand light years away and still within our own Milky Way galaxy. Reaching out to distances a million times larger, the new BOSS measurements probe far beyond our galaxy to map the Universe with unprecedented accuracy.


"Making a one-percent measurement at a distance of six billion light years is a huge step forward," explained Eisenstein, "and it requires a completely different technique from measurements in the solar system or the Milky Way."

An artist's concept of the new measurement of the size of the Universe.

The gray spheres show the pattern of the "baryon acoustic oscillations" from the early Universe. Galaxies today have a slight tendency to align on the spheres -- the alignment is greatly exaggerated in this illustration. By comparing the size of the spheres (white line) to the predicted value, astronomers can determine to 1% accuracy how far away the galaxies are.



BOSS measures baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO), subtle periodic ripples imprinted in the arrangement of galaxies in the cosmos. These ripples are descendants of pressure waves that moved through the plasma of the early universe, which was so hot and dense that particles of light (photons) were tightly coupled to the protons and neutrons (known collectively as "baryons") that make up the nuclei of atoms. The size of these periodic ripples can be calculated from fundamental physics and used as a ruler that can be measured very precisely.

Ariel Sanchez and Francesco Montesano, junior researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, led a companion paper that determined the extent of the BAO standard ruler not only along the direction perpendicular to the line of sight, but also in the direction parallel to it, analysing the anisotropy in the galaxy clustering. “This allows us to measure not only how far these galaxies are away from us, but also how fast they are moving,” explains Ariel Sanchez. “This means we can determine the rate at which the Universe was expanding at the time when the light we observe today left those galaxies six billion years ago.”

The BOSS team presented preliminary BAO measurements from its early galaxy maps a year ago, but the new analysis covers a larger volume of the Universe and thus provides a more accurate measurement, mapping the locations of 1.2 million galaxies. It also includes the first BAO measurements from a sample of more nearby galaxies.

“The distant galaxies allow us to look back to a time, when the Universe was about half its current age, the more nearby galaxies show us a more mature Universe,” says Ariel Sanchez. “When we take both measurements together, we get really powerful constraints on the properties of the dark energy component we think is responsible for the current acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.”

For now, the BOSS measurements appear consistent with a form of dark energy that stays constant through the history of the Universe in contrast to both ordinary and dark matter, which are diluted as the universe expands. This dark energy seems to be an irreducible energy associated with space itself, and is sometimes also interpreted as a "cosmological constant". This theory has now become the standard model for dark energy. “As our data keeps getting better and better, we will subject this standard model to increasingly stringent tests,” says Ariel Sanchez.





About the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

BOSS is the largest of the four projects that together make up the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III). Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III web site is http://www.sdss3.org .

SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, Harvard University, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.

Contact
Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
MPE Pressesprecherin
Phone: +49 (0)89 30000 3980
Fax: +49 (0)89 30000 3569
Email: pr@mpe.mpg.de
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching

Dr. Ariel Sánchez
Phone: +49 89 30000-3847
Email: arielsan@mpe.mpg.de
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching

Original publications

1
Anderson, L., Aubourg, É., Bailey, S., Beutler, F., Bhardwaj, V., Blanton, M., Bolton, A.S., Brinkmann, J., Brownstein, J.R., Burden, A., Chuang, C.-H., Cuesta, A.J., Dawson, K.S., Eisenstein, D.J., Escoffier, S., Gunn, J.E., Guo, H., Ho, S., Honscheid, K., Howlett, C., Kirkby, D., Manera, M., Maraston, C., McBride, C.K., Mena, O., Montesano, F., Nichol, R.C., Nuza, S.E., Olmstead, M.D., Padmanabhan, N., Palanque-Delabrouille, N., Parejko, J., Percival, W.J., Petitjean, P., Prada, F., Price-Whelan, A.M., Reid, B., Roe, N.A., Ross, A.J., Ross, N.P., Sabiu, C.G., Saito, S., Samushia, L., Sánchez, A.G., Schlegel, D.J., Schneider, D.P., Scoccola, C.G., Seo, H.-J., Skibba, R.A., Strauss, M.A., Swanson, M.E.C., Thomas, D., Tinker, J.L., Tojeiro, R., Vargas-Magaña, M., Verde, L., Wake, D.A., Weaver, B.A., Weinberg, D.H., White, M., & Xu, X., Yèche, C., Zehavi, I., & Zhao, G.-B.

The Clustering of Galaxies in the SDSS-III DR11 Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Baryon Acoustic Oscillations in the Data Release 10 and 11 Galaxy Samples

submitted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

2
Vargas-Magaña, M., Ho, S., Xu, X., Sánchez, A.G., O'Connell, R., Eisenstein, D.J., Cuesta, A.J., Percival, W.J., Ross, A.J., Aubourg, É., Escoffier, S., Kirkby, D., Manera, M., Schneider, D.P., Tinker, J.L., & Weaver, B.A.

SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Analysis of Potential Systematics in Fitting of Baryon Acoustic Feature
submitted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


3
Ariel G. Sanchez, Francesco Montesano, Eyal A. Kazin, Eric Aubourg, Florian Beutler, Jon Brinkmann, Joel R. Brownstein, Antonio J. Cuesta, Kyle S. Dawson, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Shirley Ho, Klaus Honscheid, Marc Manera, Claudia Maraston, Cameron K. McBride, Will J. Percival, Ashley J. Ross, Lado Samushia, David J. Schlegel, Donald P. Schneider, Ramin Skibba, Daniel Thomas, Jeremy L. Tinker, Rita Tojeiro, David A. Wake, Benjamin A. Weaver, Martin White, Idit Zehavi

The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: cosmological implications of the full shape of the clustering wedges in the data release 10 and 11 galaxy samples
submitted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mpe.mpg.de/5154954/News_20140108

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>