Correlated noise in the two LIGO gravitational-wave detectors may provide evidence that the universe is governed by conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) which assumes that the universe consists of a succession of aeons, says Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford. Penrose proposes that the apparent noise is actually a real signal of gravitational waves generated by the decay of hypothetical dark-matter particles predicted by CCC. Penose argues that a significant amount of this noise could be a signal of astrophysical or cosmological origin – and specifically CCC.
Last month, physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute, writes Hamish Johnston, editor of physicsworld.com, pointed out that some of the noise in the two LIGO detectors appears to be correlated – with a delay that corresponds to the time it takes for a gravitational wave to travel the more than 3000 km between the instruments.
The image above is an artist rendering of two black holes merging, like the ones LIGO detected. (LIGO / Caltech / MIT / Sonoma State by Aurore Simonnet)
First proposed over a decade ago by Penrose, CCC assumes that each aeon begins with a big bang and proceeds into an unending future in which the universe expands at an accelerating rate. As this expansion becomes infinitely large, Penrose argues that it can be transformed back into the next big bang.
Penrose, Johnston writes, says that a “reasonably robust implication of CCC” is that dark matter consists of particles called erebons – the name deriving from the Greek god of darkness Erebos. As dark matter goes, erebons are extremely heavy and have masses of about 10–5 g. This is roughly the Planck mass and on a par with a grain of sand and about 22 orders of magnitude heavier than a proton.
When an erebon decays, Penrose states, it deposits all its energy into a gravitational wave frequencies well above the detection capabilities of LIGO, and would be detected and recorded as near-instantaneous impulses that could be mistaken for noise rather than a signal from the birth of the cosmos.