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The oldest structures in the universe

Astrophysicists from Göttingen and Auckland simulate the microscopic condensation of the Big Bang. Press release from the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

The young universe cannot be directly observed, but it can be reconstructed with the help of mathematical theories. Physicists at the University of Göttingen and Auckland, New Zealand, have refined the ability of complex computer simulations to describe this early era. They discovered that within a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, a complex network of structures could form, the properties of which resemble the distribution of galaxies in today’s world. Unlike today, these primitive structures are of microscopic size. Typical blocks only have masses of a few grams and spatial dimensions smaller than those of elementary particles today. The study results have been published in Physical Review D.

The researchers were able to observe regions of higher density bound together by their own gravity. Professor Dr. says. Jens Niemeyer, Chair of the Working Group for Astrophysical Cosmology at the University of Göttingen. ?? It is possibly the largest simulation ever made of the smallest region in the universe. ??
Although the computed structures will be very short-lived and eventually “evaporate” into the elementary particles, effects of this very early stage can be discovered in future experiments. “The formation of such structures as well as their motions and interactions should have created background noise from the gravitational waves,” says Benedict Egmayer, PhD student at Niemeyer’s Group and first author of the study. With the help of our simulations, the strength of this gravitational wave signal can be calculated, which can be measured with future detectors. ??

It is also conceivable that the collapse of some of these structures resulted in small black holes. If so, it could have currently observable consequences or contribute to the mysterious dark matter. ?? On the other side, ?? Professor Dr. says. Richard Easter of the University of Auckland, “If simulations predict the formation of black holes and we do not see them, we have found a new way to test models of the very small universe.”

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