SCIENCE

Time flowed more slowly at the beginning of the universe

Researchers studying the universe have made a sensational discovery that seems to support Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, which suggests that the distant universe moved much slower in the past. 

In fact, it seems that indeed time, when the universe was no more than a billion years old, it moved at a speed five times slower than it does today. Studying the early days of the universe, given its infinite vastness, is a bit like looking back in time. This is because these places are so remote that the faint light of the galaxies is still travelling towards our planet.

The study's lead author, Geraint Lewis, professor of astrophysics at the University of Sydney's School of Physics and the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, confirmed: 'Looking back to a time when the universe was just over a billion years old, we see that time seems to be moving five times slower".

Time in the universe
Researchers studying the universe have made a sensational discovery that seems to support Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, which suggests that the distant universe moved much more slowly in the past.
A glimpse into the past of time
In fact, it seems that indeed time, when the universe was no more than a billion years old, moved at a speed five times slower than it does today. Studying the early days of the universe, given its infinite vastness, is a bit like looking back in time. This is because these places are so remote that the faint light of the galaxies is still travelling towards our planet.
The words of the author of the study
The study's lead author, Geraint Lewis, professor of astrophysics at the University of Sydney's School of Physics and the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, confirmed: 'Looking back to a time when the universe was just over a billion years old, we see that time appears to be running five times slower. The study was published in 'Nature Astronomy'.
The calculation using a quasar
Even modern telescopes can only observe so much. Consequently, the researchers used a quasar to determine the speed of time. A quasar is nothing more than a hyperactive supermassive black hole that lies at the centre of a primordial galaxy, and is so bright that it eclipses our own galaxy, the Milky Way, by 100 times.
Universe accelerates as it ages
The brightness of this quasar has like the function of a clock at the level of universal cosmology. As a result, scientists have the possibility of using it to keep track of time passing throughout the universe. Measurements of the variation of the brightness of these quasars over time made it possible for a group of astronomers and astrophysicists to observe how the universe seemed to accelerate as it aged.
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26/02/2024
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