The uncertainty of science: According to new research using data from almost 200 quasars collected over the two decades, scientists now believe they have detected the difference between the rate of time now and as we see it in the early universe.
“Looking back to a time when the universe was just over a billion years old, we see time appearing to flow five times slower,” said lead author of the study, Professor Geraint Lewis from the School of Physics and Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney. “If you were there, in this infant universe, one second would seem like one second – but from our position, more than 12 billion years into the future, that early time appears to drag.”
…Professor Lewis worked with astro-statistician Dr Brewer to examine details of 190 quasars observed over two decades. Combining the observations taken at different colours (or wavelengths) – green light, red light and into the infrared – they were able to standardise the ‘ticking’ of each quasar. Through the application of Bayesian analysis, they found the expansion of the universe imprinted on each quasar’s ticking.
“With these exquisite data, we were able to chart the tick of the quasar clocks, revealing the influence of expanding space,” Professor Lewis said.
These results further confirm Einstein’s picture of an expanding universe but contrast earlier studies that had failed to identify the time dilation of distant quasars. [emphasis mine]
I have highlighted the word “exquisite” because it is a favorite buzzword of scientists when they are trying to oversell conclusions that carry many uncertainties. As good as this data might be, it is still incredibly sparse, and the interpretation of it requires many assumptions.
Nonetheless, these results are likely correct, in some manner, because they match well with Einstein’s predictions. It is also most likely that there are many errors and incorrect aspects to those results that the scientists do not yet understand. Above all, confirmation bias remains a concern.
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