A newly published study carried out by a team of astronomers from the U.K. claimed that the shape of the universe is curved and spherical. The findings of the new study have been considered controversial as it goes against the common belief that the universe is flat.
Most of the scientific community believe that the universe is flat primarily due to observational data, cosmological models as well as physics concepts. Based on this idea, they believe that if a beam of photons is shot into space, it will continue to travel in a straight line as long as its trajectory does not get obstructed.
However, a new study published in the journal Nature refuted this theory and claimed that the shape of the universe is actually an enclosed sphere with a curvature. The study was conducted by astronomers from the Manchester University in the UK based on this idea that the beam of photons would not travel in a straight line. Instead, it would go around the universe and eventually reach its point of origin.
The authors of the study came up with their conclusion after studying the data gathered by the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency in 2018. According to their findings, the gravitational forces in space can bend the path of the cosmic microwave background, which appears as light.
The authors explained that the cosmic microwave background is actually the remaining electromagnetic radiation between galaxies and stars. They noted that the effect of gravitational forces on cosmic microwave background strongly suggests the existence of the universe's curvature.
"A closed universe can provide a physical explanation for this effect, with the Planck cosmic microwave background spectra now preferring a positive curvature at more than the 99 percent confidence level," the authors wrote in their study. "Here, we further investigate the evidence for a closed universe from Planck, showing that positive curvature naturally explains the anomalous lensing amplitude."
Although the results of the new study call for a need to rethink current models and concepts about the universe, the authors are aware that further observations are needed in order to fully prove their discovery.