Astronomers Found Evidence For A ‘Dark’ Gravitational Force That Might Fix Einstein’s Most Famous Theory
Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts so much about the universe at large, including the existence of gravitational lenses or “Einstein rings.”
And yet his famous equations struggle to fully explain such objects.
While general relativity says a strong source of gravity — like the sun— will warp the fabric of space, bend light from a distant object, and magnify it to an observer, very big objects like galaxies and galaxy clusters make gravitational lenses that are theoretically too strong.
General relativity also can’t fully explain the spinning motions of galaxies and their stars.
That’s why most physicists think as much as 80% of the mass in the universe is dark matter: invisible mass that hangs out at the edges of galaxies.
Dark matter might be made of hard-to-detect particles, or perhaps an unfathomable number of tiny black holes. But we have yet to find smoking-gun evidence of either.
However, a contentious theory by Erik Verlinde at the University of Amsterdam suggests dark matter may not be matter at all.
What’s more, astronomers say his idea “is remarkable” in its ability to explain the behavior of more than 33,000 galaxies that they studied.
“This does not mean we can completely exclude dark matter, because there are still many observations that Verlinde’s theory cannot yet explain,” study leader and physicist Margot Brouwer said in a YouTube video about the research.
“However it is a very exciting and promising first step.”
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