Scientists are on the hunt for primordial magnetic fields dating back to the Big Bang, which would transform our understanding of how the universe evolved and solve a major mystery of our Universe. The unsolved question is: where did these enormous magnetic fields — an invisible primordial ‘magnetic soul’ that pervades the Cosmos — come from, if they existed at all?
While the billion-dollar Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector watches 24/7 for gravitational waves to pass through the Earth, new research shows those waves leave behind “memories” –a permanent displacement of spacetime that comes from strong-field, general relativistic effects–that could help detect them even after they’ve passed, creating the potential to tell us about everything from the time following the Big Bang and the creation of cosmic strings–to more recent events in galaxy centers.
“We do not know what dark matter is, but if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang,” says astrophysicist Tommi Tenkanen at the Johns Hopkins University, who was not part of a 2019 University of Tokyo study that proposed the axion as a candidate for dark matter. The only fundamental scalar quantum field that has been observed in nature is the Higgs field-a field of energy that is thought to exist in every region of the universe.
“This newly discovered black hole could be an ancient relic—a primordial black hole—created in the early Universe before the first stars and galaxies formed,” said Eric Thrane from the Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy and Chief Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav). The discovery of a ‘Goldilocks’ black hole is part of a missing link between two populations of black holes. “These early black holes may be the seeds of the supermassive black holes that live in the hearts of galaxies today.”
Something is messing with our universe, and that something is the enduring mystery astronomers have dubbed dark energy –which comprises about two-thirds of the mass and energy in the universe.
“It is undeniable that we are profoundly puzzled, especially when it comes to the first fraction of a second that followed the Big Bang,” wrote theoretical physicist Dan Hooper, author of The Edge of Time in an email to The Daily Galaxy–Great Discoveries Channel. “I have no doubt that these earliest moments hold incredible secrets, but our universe holds its secrets closely. It is up to us to coax those secrets from its grip, transforming them from mystery into discovery.”