New study says universe expanding faster and is younger

New Hubble Measurements Confirm Universe Is Outpacing All Expectations of its Expansion Rate

New Hubble Measurements Confirm Universe Is Expanding at a Faster Rate

"One is a measurement of how fast the universe is expanding today, as we see it", Riess added.

"This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke".

To make the discovery, the team analysed light from 70 stars in our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, with a new method that allowed for capturing quick images of these stars.

This illustration shows the three basic steps astronomers use to calculate how fast the universe expands over time, a value called the Hubble constant.

The usual method for measuring the stars is incredibly time-consuming; the Hubble can only observe one star for every 90-minute orbit around Earth. Using a new method, the research team studied 70 Cepheid variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud, arriving at a Hubble Constant of 74.03 ks/s/Mpc. Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have significantly lowered the possibility that this discrepancy is a fluke. It's thanks to more precise measurements of Hubble's constant over the years that actually led to the inadvertent discovery of dark energy, a mysterious type of energy which we can not directly detect but which physicists are confident makes up at least 70% of the energy of the universe.

The Hubble astronomers then combined their result with another set of observations, made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from institutions in Chile, the US, and Europe.

Next, the team combined their Hubble measurements with observations made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from Chile, Europe, and the U.S. The Araucaria Project made distance measurements to the Large Magellanic Cloud via observations of the dimming of light as one star passes in front of its partner in eclipsing binary-star systems, according to the research team.

With this data, they have derived a new Hubble Constant: 74.03 kilometres (46 miles) per second per megaparsec. 'We are measuring something fundamentally different. Riess and his SH0ES (Supernovae H0 for the Equation of State) team have been on a quest since 2005 to refine those distance measurements with Hubble and fine-tune the Hubble constant.

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The previous Hubble constant estimates have ranged from between around 67 to 73 kilometres per second per megasec.

That's about 9 percent faster than estimates based on the Planck data. Like many things in life that don't agree, this discrepancy has caused what cosmologists call a "tension" - an oddity that still needs explaining.

Earlier observations of that increased speed still had a 1 in 3,000 chance that astronomers were wrong, which is considered pretty high for an astrophysics result. Dark energy may also be the reason for the universe's accelerated expansion today.

Because cosmological models suggest that observed values of the expansion of the Universe should be the same as those determined from the Cosmic Microwave Background, new physics may be needed to explain the disparity. Data derived from Hubble observations has always been starkly different than earlier estimates of Universe expansion conducted by observing far more distant objects in the cosmos.

There are a number of ways to derive the Hubble Constant.

Another idea is that the universe contains a new subatomic particle that travels close to the speed of light. But like Riofrio, there are others who postulate that a changing speed of light cannot only account for a simplified explanation of an expanding Universe without invoking the need for dark energy, it can explain many other cosmological phenomena too.

The goal is to get this uncertainty down to 1 per cent.

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