Just recently we have learned that the universe is expanding at two different rates, based on some new data collected from both the Gaia space observatory, belonging to the European Space Agency, and the Hubble telescope. These latest findings might even suggest brand new physics, which could provide a better understanding of the universe.
New exciting implications
Measuring the universe’s rate of expansion is not an easy thing to do. Based on the updated precise measurements taken by both telescopes, it appears that the uncertainty of the new calculations lies at only 2.2%.
It has been already speculated that the tension between the two different rates of expansion could be a sign of the existence of an unknown particle or of the interaction strength of dark matter.
The value of the Hubble constant has also been refined by Gaia and Hubble. This constant represents the rate at which the universe is expanding since the moment of the big bang, and it is extremely important for establishing how old the universe is. This is, after all, one of the main questions of our time. The newest value was determined by measuring the distance between galaxies. This is made possible by tracking the stretch of light between the galaxies. Afterwards, the distances were compared to the expansion rate of the space to calculate the value of the Hubble constant. What was found is that the newly determined values are in conflict with previous measurements that were taken by the European Space Agency’s Planck mission.
The new predictions are contradicting prior measurements
Based on the Planck’s prediction, the expansion rate of the nearby universe from our times is 41.6 miles per second per megaparsec. Nonetheless, according to the new measurements taken by Gaia and Hubble, the rate of expansion is placed at 45.6 miles per second per megaparsec. These findings came as a surprise to the scientists. The researchers are planning to continue using Gaia in order to refine the Hubble constant again, within a value of only one percent before 2020.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca