Scientists discovered that the Universe is expanding faster than originally though. The new measurements made by Hubble Space Telescope show that the universe expansion is approximately 45.5 miles per second per megaparsec.
Taking into consideration that a megaparsec is 3.26 million light years, the speed does not seem to be so impressive. However, scientists have trouble in understanding how the newly calculated speed fits the previous theories on the creation of the universe.
The technique used is different from the previous measurements, as it used the calculated distance to Cepheid stars to calibrate their brightness. Then, scientists used these calculations to approximate length in galaxies placed at a significant longer distance.
By using this technique, Hubble measured the distance between 19 galaxies that are supposed to be at the extreme limits of the universe.
Scientists say that the current calculated expansion speed will need 10 billion years to double the distance between our galaxy and the nearest neighbors.
The new calculations determined a speed 9% faster than the earlier predictions. For our planet, this may not seem to be of high significance, but at the universe level, it constitutes a substantial discrepancy.
“If you really believe our number — and we have shed blood, sweat, and tears to get our measurement right and to accurately understand the uncertainties — then it leads to the conclusion that there is a problem with predictions based on measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the leftover glow from the Big Bang,” said Alex Filippenko, astronomy professor and co-author of the research.
Cosmologists now face a new dilemma, as the new measured speed does not match the previous Big Bang theory assumptions.
Two earlier space missions have both determined lower Hubble constants. One of the missions was Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe from NASA, and the other was Planck satellite mission from the European Space Agency, both using different teams of scientists when calculating the expansion speed.
This discrepancy between calculations will need to be further investigated. Should it be proven correct, cosmologists will have to determine what other unaccounted physical processes were involved in the universe expansion.
Scientists have trouble with understanding the universe creation because they haven’t yet learned what fills the space between stars, planets, and galaxies. Some cosmologists believe that the remaining space is in fact occupied by black holes. Others believe it’s just dark matter, radiation, and energy. All these components are still a mystery to science.
A new faster universe expansion speed would also mean that Einstein’s theory is incomplete. Since the argument is almost a century old, this too would be understandable.
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