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Space & Astronomy

Universe expansion rate mystery deepens

By T.K. Randall
July 18, 2019 · Comment icon 54 comments

Why has it proven so difficult to calculate the expansion rate ? Image Credit: NASA/ESA
A new attempt to calculate how fast the universe is expanding has thrown up more questions than answers.
Known as the Hubble Constant, the expansion rate of the universe was originally estimated by physicist and astronomer Georges Lemaitre all the way back in 1927.

More recently, by using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, physicists calculated that the expansion rate was approximately 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

Then a separate team of researchers using data from the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft came up with a completely different figure of around 67 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

Most recently, University of Chicago astronomer Wendy Freedman and colleagues attempted to prove that the rate of expansion was either one or the other by using a different method which involved calculating the brightness of red giant stars in distant galaxies.
As it turned out however, their efforts resulted in a figure of 69.8 kilometers per second per megaparsec - a completely new answer that doesn't match any of the previous findings.

In fact over the years there have been numerous attempts to calculate the Hubble Constant and none of them agree with one another. It seems that physicists must be missing something.

"Naturally, questions arise as to whether the discrepancy is coming from some aspect that astronomers don't yet understand about the stars we're measuring, or whether our cosmological model of the universe is still incomplete," said Freedman.

"Or maybe both need to be improved upon."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (54)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #45 Posted by Harte 5 years ago
Sorry, both effects have been observed several hundred times. The time distortion is in constant observation and has been for over a decade. Whether General Relativity is the actual answer as to why is not known. What IS known is that General Relativity predicted both effects long before they were observed and GR's predictions match precisely those observations to the limits of our means to observe them. Harte
Comment icon #46 Posted by joc 5 years ago
From my layman's view... Consider smoke from a fire.  The smoke is billowing upward and away from the fire.  As the heat diminishes so does the speed of the smoke. In this the top of my head...explanation:  The atmosphere is 'the dark matter'.  The smoke particles are 'matter'.  The fire is 'the big bang'. The  smoke rises because heat from the fire creates its own wind.  As the heat does the wind.  If expansion began via the big makes sense to me that there would be differences in the measurements of speed at which that occurs...depending on... [More]
Comment icon #47 Posted by joc 5 years ago
As a matter of we discovered on the train...tomorrow never happens's all the same 'freaking' day man!
Comment icon #48 Posted by lightly 5 years ago
The Big Bang...if there was one, was nothing like an explosion ,in which the force dissipates with distance. the expansion occurs equally ..everywhere.   The reason the farthest galaxies (and stuff) are moving away at faster rates than the nearer galaxies (and stuff) is that the space everywhere in between is it is a cumulative effect.    ???  
Comment icon #49 Posted by SmartAZ 5 years ago
Sorry yourself. Science is loaded with effects that were observed several hundred times and then turned out to have been observed only because people wanted so badly to observe them. Nessie, UFOs, evolution, winds and shockwaves in space, magnetic reconnection, and on and on. Math is only valid when it describes reality, so computer simulations don't count. Most of what we call science is nothing more than refusal to admit "We don't know."
Comment icon #50 Posted by Harte 5 years ago
You stipulate a force you claim is "required" and then lament it has never been observed. I did answer the question with elasticity. The explanation of the elasticity is beyond the level of a discussion forum. You also note that there are individuals who claim to have explained the observed phenomena using only Newtonian physics. I'd point out that there have been centuries of Newtonian physicists unable to explain the orbit of Mercury, which Relativity easily explains (and wasn't even trying.) No Newtonian system predicted the time dilation effect of a gravity well OR of acceleration. Relativ... [More]
Comment icon #51 Posted by Desertrat56 5 years ago
What scientists observed Nessi and UFOs AND why do you include evolution in that list?  You are making no sense at all.  Evolution has been proven for animals and plants, it does break down when trying to apply it to humans (perhaps because of a lot we still don't know about genetics), however, it is real science. What are you referring to when you say "shockwaves in space, magnetic reconnection"?  I agree that there is a lot we don't know but science does know some things. P.S.  I think SmartAZ is an appropriate handle for you.
Comment icon #52 Posted by SmartAZ 5 years ago
Ok, now the discussion devolves to personal insults. I decline to respond again.
Comment icon #53 Posted by Piney 5 years ago
The link he posted back a bit posits a "electric universe" theory. Which is one of the most idiotic woocrap theories next to a flat Earth. 
Comment icon #54 Posted by Harte 5 years ago
Don't blame you if you had to answer for Nessie. Harte

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