Flying apart! Disturbing Hubble Space Telescope Universe expansion rate worries NASA

NASA study, based on Hubble Space Telescope data, reveals a disturbing Universe expansion rate.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 22:47 IST
Hubble Space Telescope universe expansion rate data says it is happening at a fast and furious rate. (Wikipedia)
Hubble Space Telescope universe expansion rate data says it is happening at a fast and furious rate. (Wikipedia)

A recent discovery by NASA has claimed that the universe is flying apart faster than it should be, as revealed by the models of the cosmos based on Hubble Space Telescope data. Astronomers have discovered that the universe expansion rate is happening at a fast and furious rate - 5 per cent to 9 per cent faster than expected. Evidence of this trend has been accumulating for years. It is known as the Hubble Tension, after astronomer Edwin Hubble who observed that the farther the galaxy from us, the faster it recedes.

The study is led by the Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland and a team of astronomers. The measurement of the universe expansion rate has been done in two primary ways: by measuring distances to nearby stars, and by mapping a faint glow dating back to the infant universe. These dual approaches will help understand the universe across more than 13 billion years of cosmic history.

Talking about the study, Riess said that this surprising finding may help in understanding the mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 per cent of everything and don't emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter and dark radiation. The results of this study will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Though these methods support the theory of the expansion of the universe at a faster rate, these disagree on the universe's current expansion rate theory by about 8 per cent. If this discrepancy is real, it means the universe is now expanding at a faster rate than even dark energy can explain.

The researchers' findings, described in several studies are submitted last week to The Astrophysical Journal. The study is conducted by using specific types of stars and stellar explosions to measure the distance between us and nearby galaxies. This includes observations of 42 different stellar explosions.

According to the study, the difference between their new analysis and results from measurements of the early cosmos has reached five sigmas that are used in particle physics to confirm the existence of new particles.

It leads other astronomers to see room for possible errors in the data, deriving the possibility that the Hubble Tension is just an artefact.

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First Published Date: 20 Dec, 11:08 IST
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