A controversial study claimed that the universe might actually be curved like an enclosed sphere instead of being flat as widely believed by the scientific community. The authors of the study noted that their findings call for a drastic need to rethink current cosmological models.

Various factors such as physics concepts, computer models of the cosmos and observational data all point to the idea that the universe is flat. Many astronomers believe that if a beam of photos is blasted into space, it will continue to travel in a straight line due to the universe’s perceived shape, according to Science Alert.

However, in a new study presented by astronomers from the Manchester University in the U.K., the authors claimed that the universe is an enclosed sphere that’s continuously inflating. This means that if a beam of photos is shot into space, it would eventually go around the universe and return to its point of origin.

According to the astronomers, they came up with their conclusion after analyzing the data collected by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite last year. Based on the information they gathered, the astronomers learned that gravitational forces in space bend the path of light.

The light that the astronomers referred to is actually the cosmic microwave background, which is the remaining electromagnetic radiation between stars and galaxies. They noted that this dates back to 380,000 years following the Big Bang.

For the astronomers, this bending of the cosmic microwave background offers clues regarding the universe’s curvature.

"A closed universe can provide a physical explanation for this effect, with the Planck cosmic microwave background spectra now preferring a positive curvature at more than the 99 percent confidence level," the astronomers wrote in their study.

"Here, we further investigate the evidence for a closed universe from Planck, showing that positive curvature naturally explains the anomalous lensing amplitude,” they continued.

For the astronomers, the possibility that the universe is curved calls for a need to rethink current models about space in order to get a better understanding of its properties. Their findings were presented in a new study published in the journal Nature.

Bulgeless Galaxy Hides Black Hole
The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. This dwarf galaxy is relatively small in comparison with our Milky Way galaxy, which is nearly 1,000 times more massive. NASA/JPL-Caltech