We know that the universe keeps expanding, but it wasn’t that easy to measure the rate of expansion – meaning the calculations could be off track. And they were, according to NASA and ESA.
NASA announced that their Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s space observatory Gaia had made the most accurate measurements until now, by combining the two instruments into a single mission. The inaccuracy of the measurements is only 2.2%, both Hubble and Gaia showing that the rate of expansion is different when it comes to the nearby universe and the primitive universe.
The new data provided could lead to new physics and also allow experts to better understand the origin of the universe.
Using the new data from Hubble and Gaia, Hubble constant’s value was also redefined. The constant is used by scientists to measure the rate at which the universe is expanding since the big bang. The Hubble constant is a key factor in concluding the age of the universe.
The Expansion Rate of Our Universe
The recent Hubble constant’s value was determined by tracking the stretch of light between galaxies, and then all the distances were compared to the expansion rate of space. However, the values were different from the ones previously taken by European Space Agency’s Plank mission.
Adam Riess (Space Telescope Science Institute) explained:
“It’s as though you predicted how tall a child would become from a growth chart and then found the adult he or she became greatly exceeded the prediction.”
The predictions made by the Planck mission showed that the expansion rate of our nearby universe is at 41.6 miles per second per megaparsec. But Gaia and Hubble’s measurements found that it expands at 45.6 miles per second per megaparsec.
The new measurements have shocked all the scientists who are now trying to make sense of the new data. However, it’s interesting to see that the facts known so far about our universe have changed.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.