Hubble Telescope Data Suggest “Something Strange” Is Happening in the Universe

Decades of data from the Hubble Space Telescope have produced a new and more precise measurement of the expansion rate of the universe.

The new examination of data from the 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope attempts to identify how fast the universe is expanding and how much that expansion is accelerating through a number called the Hubble Constant (named after astronomers). Edwin P. Hubble and Georges Lemaître who first tried to measure it in 1929).

Different confusing results

The number is notoriously difficult to pin down because different observatories looking at different areas of the universe have produced different results. Now, a new study of the latest Hubble effort may have found the right answer, according to a NASA press release published Thursday.

“You’re getting the most accurate measure of the expansion rate of the universe from the gold standard of telescopes and cosmic mile markers,” said Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Johns University. Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. .

Riess leads a scientific collaboration investigating the expansion rate of the universe called SHOES, which stands for Supernova, H0, for the Dark Energy Equation of State. “This is what the Hubble Space Telescope was built for, using the best techniques we know to do it. This is probably Hubble’s masterpiece, because it would take another 30 years of Hubble’s life to even double this sample size,” Riess said. . .

Riess is leading the biggest and probably last major update to the Hubble constant with new results that more than double previous samples of cosmic distance markers. His team also reviewed all previous data that takes into account more than 1,000 Hubble orbits.

“The Hubble constant is a very special number. It can be used to thread a needle from the past to the present for an end-to-end test of our understanding of the universe. This required a phenomenal amount of detailed work,” he said. Dr. Licia Verde, cosmologist at ICREA and ICC-University of Barcelona, ​​talking about the work of the SHOES team.

The team analyzed 42 of the Hubble supernova landmark markers that are seen exploding at a rate of about one per year. Riess said: “We have a complete sample of all supernovae accessible to the Hubble telescope seen in the last 40 years.” Like the lyrics to the song “Kansas City” from the Broadway musical OklahomaHubble has “gone as far as it can go.”

What did the team finally conclude?

The SHOES team produced a Hubble constant estimate of 73. This turned out to be higher than previous research that combined the standard cosmological model of the universe and measurements from the European Space Agency’s Planck mission to predict a value for the constant of 67.5 more or less. 0.5 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

Who has the reason? Turns out it doesn’t matter that much. This confusion is exciting for astronomers like Riess. “I don’t really care what the expansion value is specifically, but I like to use it to learn about the universe,” Riess concluded.

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