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Four direct measurements of the fine-structure constant 13 billion years ago

Wilczynska, MR; Webb, JK; Bainbridge, M; Barrow, JD; Bosman, SE; Carswell, RF; Dabrowski, MP; ... Pasquini, L; + view all (2020) Four direct measurements of the fine-structure constant 13 billion years ago. Science Advances , 6 (17) , Article eaay9672. 10.1126/sciadv.aay9672. Green open access

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Abstract

Observations of the redshift z = 7.085 quasar J1120+0641 are used to search for variations of the fine structure constant, α, over the redshift range 5:5 to 7:1. Observations at z = 7:1 probe the physics of the universe at only 0.8 billion years old. These are the most distant direct measurements of α to date and the first measurements using a near-IR spectrograph. A new AI analysis method is employed. Four measurements from the X-SHOOTER spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) constrain changes in a relative to the terrestrial value (α0). The weighted mean electromagnetic force in this location in the universe deviates from the terrestrial value by Δα/α = (αz − α0)/α0 = (−2:18 ± 7:27) × 10−5, consistent with no temporal change. Combining these measurements with existing data, we find a spatial variation is preferred over a no-variation model at the 3:9σ level.

Type: Article
Title: Four direct measurements of the fine-structure constant 13 billion years ago
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9672
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aay9672
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, TESTING FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS, UVES LARGE PROGRAM, TIME-VARIATION, QUASAR, CONSTRAINTS, PRINCIPLE, REDSHIFT, SEARCH
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097952
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