Space & Astronomy
The universe is expanding faster than it should
By T.K. Randall
April 26, 2019 · 118 comments
Things don't seem to add up and nobody is quite sure why. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
A new study has highlighted the fact that there is still much we don't know about the expansion of the cosmos.
Back in 1929, Edwin Hubble - the man after which the Hubble Space Telescope is named - made a fundamental discovery by realizing that the universe is not static but is in fact constantly expanding.
Fast-forward 90 years and while modern science has come a long way towards calculating not only the speed of this expansion but also the rate at which it is accelerating, there remain discrepancies that continue to challenge what we think we know of the expansion process.
Perhaps the most perplexing of all is the discrepancy between the predicted and calculated rates of expansion. One of the most recent efforts to measure the rate of expansion found that it was 9% higher than it really ought to be based on prior predictions.
Now a new paper has put forward another such measurement - this time using extremely detailed observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope. As it turns out - the new figure seems to concur with the earlier finding that the expansion is 9% faster than it should be.
The likelihood of an error in these latest findings is a mere 1 in 100,000, meaning that new physics may be needed to explain the discrepancy.
"This is not just two experiments disagreeing," said study lead author Adam Riess.
"We are measuring something fundamentally different. One is a measurement of how fast the universe is expanding today, as we see it. The other is a prediction based on the physics of the early universe and on measurements of how fast it ought to be expanding."
"If these values don't agree, there becomes a very strong likelihood that we're missing something in the cosmological model that connects the two eras."
Source: Live Science
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