Key Takeaways:

  • New research suggests the universe could be twice as old as currently estimated (26.7 billion years vs. 13.8 billion years).
  • This finding challenges the dominant cosmological model, Lambda-CDM.
  • It provides a solution to the “impossible early galaxy” problem – galaxies observed don’t seem to fit current age estimates.
  • The research proposes reinterpreting the redshift of light from distant galaxies to account for tired light theory and evolving coupling constants.
  • A new cosmological constant is proposed to account for the evolution of coupling constants and address the small size of early galaxies.

According to recent research from the University of Ottawa, the universe may be twice as old as current estimates. This research challenges the dominant cosmological model and provides a solution to the “impossible early galaxy” problem without requiring the existence of primordial black hole seeds, massive population III stars, or other necessary components.

Professor Rajendra Gupta of the University of Ottawa stated, “Our newly-devised model stretches the galaxy formation time by a few billion years, making the Universe 26.7 billion years old, and not 13.7 as previously estimated.

Astrophysicists have been determining the age of our Universe for a long time by timing the Big Bang and analyzing the oldest stars to determine the redshift of light from far-off galaxies.

Thus, in 2021, the Lambda-CDM concordance model was used to estimate the age of our Universe to be 13.797 billion years.

The finding of early galaxies in a highly developed state, made possible by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, and the existence of ancient stars like Methuselah that seem to be older than the estimated age of our Universe, however, have perplexed many scientists.

These galaxies seem to have reached a level of maturity and mass usually associated with billions of years of cosmic evolution, despite having formed only 300 million years after the Big Bang.

Furthermore, they’re surprisingly small in size, adding another layer of mystery to the equation.

According to Fritz Zwicky’s tired light theory, photons gradually lose energy over enormous cosmic distances, which accounts for the redshift of light from far-off galaxies. It was perceived to be at odds with observations, though.

However, Professor Gupta discovered that it is possible to reinterpret the redshift as a hybrid phenomenon rather than one that is solely caused by expansion if this theory is allowed to coexist with the expanding Universe.

Apart from Zwicky’s dated light theory, he presents Paul Dirac’s hypothesis of evolving coupling constants.

The fundamental physical constants known as coupling constants control how particles interact with one another.

Dirac indicates that these constants may have changed over time.

The timescale for the formation of early galaxies, which Webb observed at high redshifts, can be extended from a few hundred million years to several billions of years by allowing them evolve.

This offers a more plausible explanation for the high degree of mass and development seen in these old galaxies.

Furthermore, Professor Gupta proposes that the conventional understanding of the cosmological constant—which stands for dark energy accountable for the universe’s accelerated expansion—needs to be updated.

Instead, he proposes a constant that accounts for the evolution of the coupling constants.

“This modification in the cosmological model helps address the puzzle of small galaxy sizes observed in the early Universe, allowing for more accurate observations,” Professor Gupta said.

The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society publish his paper.

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