Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Cosmic acceleration as an optical illusion
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Technische Universität Wien, Wiedner Hauptstraße 8–10, 1040, Vienna, Austria
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Accepted: 8 March 2017
Published online: 21 March 2017
We consider light propagation in an inhomogeneous irrotational dust universe with vanishing cosmological constant, with initial conditions as in standard linear perturbation theory. A non-perturbative approach to the dynamics of such a universe is combined with a distance formula based on the Sachs optical equations. Then a numerical study implies a redshift–distance relation that roughly agrees with observations. Interpreted in the standard homogeneous setup, our results would appear to imply the currently accepted values for the Hubble rate and the deceleration parameter; furthermore there is consistency with density perturbations at last scattering. The determination of these three quantities relies only on a single parameter related to a cutoff scale. Discrepancies with the existing literature are related to subtleties of higher order perturbation theory which make both the reliability of the present approach and the magnitude of perturbative effects beyond second order hard to assess.
© The Author(s), 2017