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A new constraint on cosmological variability of the proton-to-electron mass ratio

Authors

  • S. A. Levshakov,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Theoretical Astrophysics, National Astronomical Observatory, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan,
      lev@th.nao.ac.jp
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    • †On leave from the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg.

  • M. Dessauges-Zavadsky,

    1. European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany
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    • ‡Affiliated to Observatoire de Genève, CH–1290 Sauverny, Switzerland.

  • S. D'Odorico,

    1. European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany
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  • P. Molaro

    1. Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via G. B. Tiepolo 11, I-34131 Trieste, Italy
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  • 1 The present value of the proton-to-electron mass ratio is μ0=1836.1526670 (Mohr & Taylor 2000).

  • 2 The damped Lyα systems are believed to originate in the intervening galaxies or proto-galaxies located at cosmological distances (e.g. Wolfe et al. 1995).

  • 3 Based on the H2 laboratory wavelengths given in Abgrall & Roueff (1989).

  • 4 The numbers shown in parenthesis are the 1σ standard deviations in the last digits after a decimal point.

lev@th.nao.ac.jp

Abstract

Exotic cosmologies predict the variability of the fundamental physical constants over the cosmic time. Using the Very Large Telescope/Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph (VLT/UVES) high-resolution spectra of the quasar Q0347–3819 and unblended electronic-vibrational-rotational lines of the H2 molecule identified at zabs=3.025 we test possible changes in the proton-to-electron mass ratio μ0=mp/me over the period of ∼11 Gyr. We obtained a new constraint on the time-averaged variation rate of μ0 of |μ˙/μ0|<5×10-15 yr-1 (1σ confidence level). The estimated 1σ uncertainty interval of the μ/μ0| ratio of about 0.004 per cent implies that since the time when the H2 spectrum was formed at zabs=3.025, μ0 has not changed by more than a few thousandths of a per cent.

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