Galaxies spin faster than they should. The space spreads apart when it should not. And everything begins to feel that…
Galaxies spin faster than they should. The space spreads apart when it should not. And everything begins to feel that we will always be in the dark when it comes to the big questions in physics.
A physicist solution lies in a hypothetical “fluid” with negative mass. No, such material has never seen before. But the pursuit of exotic particles and energies gets harder during the day, so it’s worth keeping our options open.
Jamie Farnes from Oxford University suggests that we return to Einstein’s theory of general relativity – describing gravity in space geometry – and tweak it a bit so it allows meaning with negative mass for
This emergence of a strange pushing particle can solve two of the most frustrating mysteries of physics ̵
1; why do the galaxies cling together when they spin? And why does the universe seem to grow so fast today compared to the past?
Right now, the best explanation for each observation is that it’s very hard to see things that make a lot of pressure or drag.
Dark matter is whatever happens to be responsible for “pulling” together stars and galaxies beyond all we can see. It is more than likely some form of massive particle that does not interact well with visible matter, making it almost invisible.
Dark energy, on the other hand, is a theoretical phenomenon that is responsible for counteract gravity forces, causing large-scale structures to move apart and the universe looks like it is expanding increasingly.
Right now, were the best answers we have. While there are many suggestions on what lies behind each of them, we are still a little closer to a smoking gun. It is despite the fact that the two combine to compensate about 95 percent of all energy and matter in the cosmos.
“It’s embarrassing,” says Farnes in his article on The Conversation . “But astrophysics are the first to admit it.”
Farnes is wondering if this dark 95 percent comes down to the same thing. He has proposed an all-encompassing dark “liquid” that appears in empty space and dampens weakly against surrounding matter.
Not only would this gentle nudge drive galaxies from each other, creating additional space for more dark fluid to “pop up” in reality would push their stars, preventing them from sliding like the galaxies.
As far as potential theories go, it feels quite parsimonic. Nothing like a two-for-the-price-of-one solution.
And even better, Farne’s negative mass models can be tested with data on the distribution of galaxies collected using Square Kilometer Array.
“The result seems pretty beautiful,” says Farnes.
“Dark energy and dark matter can be combined into a single substance, with both effects being simply explained as positive mass matter of surfing on a sea of negative masses.”
Beautiful, safe. But even Farnes agrees that the thought is a little out there, as far as the supporting physics goes.
First and foremost, while there are phenomena that exhibit negative mass-like properties, they are not the same as spontaneously appears to be negative mass particles.
Secondly, while quantum mechanics predict particles that pop in and out of the presence in a vacuum – this does not add to the eternal generation of a dark soup of negative masses.
Still before we get ahead, Albert Einstein himself proposed a similar fudge factor as he outlined general relativity. So there is room in math to take into account such a concept.
“In the Newtonian Theory,” he wrote back in 1918, “modification of the theory is required so that” empty space “takes the role of gravity negative masses distributed over interstellar space.”
He also rejected the negative mass of empty space as his biggest blunder.
Still, everything seems to be shooting spaces and holding galaxies together, we have no answer.
We can use a few more suggestions on our sleeve if all other ideas fail. In that case, Farnes’ outlandish model of a dark dark universe can only see its day in the sun after all. “
“If it is real, it would suggest that the missing 95 percent of the cosmos had an aesthetic solution” says
“We had forgotten to include a simple minus sign.”
This research was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics .