Physicists Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt discovered that the universe was expanding, and that its expansion was happening at an accelerating rate.
The team found a new form of matter known as dark energy was responsible for causing the expansion of the universe to speed up in 1998.
But now, physicists Lawrence Mead and Harry Ringermacher from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), say that the universe is oscillating, or “ringing”, as the expansion slows down slightly – seven times to be precise since the Big Bang – as the intense gravitational pull tries to pull everything back in.
According to the duo’s research, the universe has been acting like a giant bell that is still “ringing” from the intense explosion of the Big Bang.
Mr Mead said: “The new finding suggests that the universe has slowed down and speeded up, not just once, but seven times in the last 13.8 billion years, on average emulating dark matter in the process.
“The ringing has been decaying and is now very small – much like striking a crystal glass and hearing it ring down.”
Mr Ringermacher says the discovery was made by accident when the pair were analysing data on dark matter modelling of galaxies.
Through this, they found “a new way of plotting a classic textbook graph describing the scale of the universe against its age (lookback time) that did not depend on one’s prior choice of models of the universe – as was traditional,” according to a statement from USM.
Mr Ringermacher said: “The standard graph, the Hubble diagram, is constructed by astronomers observing the distances of Type 1A Supernovae that serve as ‘standard candles’ for measuring the expansion of the universe.
“Analysing this new plot to locate the transition time of the universe, we found there was more than one such time – in fact multiple oscillations with a frequency of about 7 cycles over the lifetime of the universe.
“It is space itself that has been speeding up its…