KEY IDEA: “I was feeling like I was dreaming. It seemed so unreal. This is because my results did not match any previous results,” said astronomer Kyu-Hyun Chae.
Original author and publication date: Becky Ferreira (Vice) – August 6, 2023
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Gravity is not what is used to be. In fact, the Universe (or our understanding of it) is not what it used to be.
From the article:
A scientist has observed a “gravitational anomaly” in certain star systems that could potentially upend a fundamental assumption about the universe, according to a new study.
The anomaly arises when loosely orbiting stars, known as wide binaries, seem to move in ways that defy established models of gravity, which are based on the ideas of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. The mind-bending discovery hints at a possible alternate theory of physics that does not depend on the existence of weird unidentified phenomena, such as dark matter, to explain the phenomena we see in space.
Gravity is one of the most familiar forces we experience in our daily lives, but it is also among the toughest to explain. In the standard model of cosmology—a well-tested theoretical framework—gravity is governed by Newtonian laws and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The standard model also predicts there is an unknown material, called dark matter, that accounts for the vast majority of the universe’s mass.
The standard model is a robust theory, but some objects in outer space nevertheless seem to deviate from its gravitational playbook. For this reason, scientists began to develop another explanation of gravity in the 1980s, known as Modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND), that does not require the existence of dark matter.
The new data suggests that when the gravitational accelerations of these stars slip below one nanometer per second squared, they begin to move in ways that are more aligned with MOND models than by the standard model.
Chae said the findings offer “direct evidence for the breakdown of standard gravity at weak acceleration” and reveal “an immovable anomaly of gravity in favor of MOND-based modified gravity,” according to a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal.