An international team of astronomers have confirmed Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity and that the expansion of the universe is accelerating after looking at data from the largest-ever survey conducted by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The astronomers studied more than 446,000 galaxies to map the matter distribution and the expansion history of the universe.
This study enabled them to observe precisely how dark matter evolved in the universe and to reconstruct a three-dimensional map of the dark matter and use this to test Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. “Our results confirmed that there is an unknown source of energy in the universe which is causing the cosmic expansion to speed up, stretching the dark matter further apart exactly as predicted by Einstein’s theory,” said Van Waerbeke, an associate professor in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that space and time is a soft geometrical structure of which the shape and evolution are entirely determined by the matter within it. Scientists posit that the universe is composed of dark matter and normal matter with a third constituent called “dark energy,” which over the past two billion years has been the force behind the accelerated expansion of the universe.
“The data from our study are consistent with these predictions and show no deviation from Einstein’s theories,” said Van Waerbeke, who is also a scholar in the Cosmology and Gravity program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.