London: Stirring a fresh debate over the
composition of the universe, British physicists have claimed
that dark matter and energy, the mysterious forces which are
thought to make up 96 per cent of space, may not exist.
The universe is formed of recognisable components
such as planets, stars, asteroids and gas - which accounts for
just four per cent of the cosmos, while the rest is thought to
be made up of mysterious dark matter and dark energy,according
to the decades-old Standard Model.
Now, a new study by Durham University has suggested
that calculations on which the Standard Model is based could
be fatally flawed, raising possibility that the "dark side" of
cosmos doesn`t exist, which in turn could mean the universe is
expanding less quickly than earlier thought.
"This would challenge greatly our assumptions about
the long term future of the universe, because the assumption
at the moment is that the universe is expanding and if it
isn`t that would be a huge shock.
"It could even mean that the expansion of the universe
is slowing down and could grind to a halt," Dr Robert Massey
of Royal Astronomical Society, which published the findings,
was quoted by `The Daily Telegraph` as saying.
A new analysis of measurements taken by NASA of Big
Bang heat radiation in 2001 showed that the heat waves may be
far smaller than previously thought.
When the measurements were first taken in 2001
the size of the ripples in the Cosmic Microwave Background
radiation led scientists to conclude that the cosmos is made
up of four per cent "normal" matter, 22 per cent "dark" or
invisible matter and 74 per cent "dark" energy.
But, the scientists now claim that the waves of
radiation which were previously measured at about twice the
size of the full moon may in fact be less than half that size.
Professor Tom Shanks, who led the research, said: "CMB
observations are a powerful tool for cosmology and it is vital
to check for systematic effects. If our results prove correct
then it will become less likely that dark energy and exotic
matter particles dominate the universe. So the evidence that
the universe has a dark side will weaken."