Galaxies, gas and dark matter swirling throughout the Universe is causing the cosmos to warm up. Scientists from Ohio State University probed the temperature of gas farther away from Earth, which means farther back in time.
The team then checked the temperature of gasses close to Earth, which equates to the present time.
The researchers found that over the last 10 billion years, the temperature of the Universe has increased 10 times over, reaching 2 million degrees Kelvin today — approximately four million degrees Fahrenheit.
The increasing temperature is a result of gravity influencing dark matter and gas which generates more heat, according to the research published in the journal Astrophysical Journal.
Yi-Kuan Chiang, lead author of the study and a research fellow at The Ohio State University Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics, said: “Our new measurement provides a direct confirmation of the seminal work by Jim Peebles — the 2019 Nobel Laureate in Physics — who laid out the theory of how the large-scale structure forms in the Universe.”
A statement from Ohio State University said: “The large-scale structure of the universe refers to the global patterns of galaxies and galaxy clusters on scales beyond individual galaxies.
“It is formed by the gravitational collapse of dark matter and gas.”
Mr Chiang added: “As the Universe evolves, gravity pulls dark matter and gas in space together into galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
“The drag is violent — so violent that more and more gas is shocked and heated up.”
To understand how the Universe is heating, the team used data from the ESA’s Planck and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
The researchers then combined the data to examine the redshift of gas.
Redshift is when the wavelength of light is stretched “so the light is seen as ‘shifted’ towards the red part of the spectrum”, said the ESA.
The Ohio State University statement continued: “The concept of redshift works because the light we see from objects farther away from Earth is older than the light we see from objects closer to Earth — the light from distant objects has travelled a longer journey to reach us.
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“That fact, together with a method to estimate temperature from light, allowed the researchers to measure the mean temperature of gases in the early universe — gases that surround objects farther away — and compare that mean with the mean temperature of gases closer to Earth—gases today.”
However, the warming Universe can not be an excuse for global warming, according to Mr Chiang.
He said: “These phenomena are happening on very different scales.
“They are not at all connected.”
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