Scientists suspect that a “fifth force” is at work in space. This force, which they believe is mediated by a hypothetical particle called the Symmetron, is responsible for creating invisible walls in space.
The walls are not necessarily like the walls of a room. Instead, they are more like barriers. And they could help explain a fascinating part of space that has had astronomers scratching their heads for quite some time.
New study could explain ‘invisible walls in space’ that have baffled astronomers for years
The Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model is the current standard model that we use to explain the cosmology. However, this model has a confusing challenge, and sometimes it just doesn’t add up.
According to this model, small galaxies should be distributed in chaotic orbits around larger galaxies. However, most small galaxies orbiting larger galaxies are arranged in thin flat planes. These planes or disks look similar to Saturn’s rings. Almost as if there were an invisible wall in space along which the galaxies are arranged.
These “satellites,” as astronomers often call them, are in synchronized orbits in our own galaxy. Astronomers have also observed them in neighboring galaxies. Over the years, scientists have proposed many possible explanations to solve the “satellite disk problem”.
However, this new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham presents a different kind of explanation for these invisible walls in space. The study is currently available via the preprint server arXiv.
A new physical explanation
The researchers believe their research points to a first possible explanation of the “new physics” that doesn’t completely eliminate dark matter. Dark matter makes up most of the mass in the universe and has proven to be one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. As such, it was an important part of these types of studies.
Contrary to previous studies on the subject, this new research suggests that hypothetical particles called symmetrons could create invisible walls in space. Astronomers call these walls “domain walls,” and they hold galaxies in their refined orbits. Instead of the galaxies orbiting in a chaotic pattern as suggested by the ΛCDM model.
The researchers also say there’s a 50/50 chance that different regions will take on different values for their symmetrons. This could explain the differences some larger galaxies have in the smaller galaxies they orbit.
Of course, this is just a proof of concept. If we want to prove that there are invisible walls in space, we have to prove that symmetrons exist. This is where space instruments like the James Webb Telescope come into play. As they observe parts of the early universe, they could teach us more about these new particles and the organization they bring to the universe.