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Scientists have come up with a new measurement for the expansion rate of the universe, leading to questions regarding the discrepancies between current observations and the model of the universe that astronomers have relied on for years.
New observations made using the Hubble Space Telescope indicate that the universe is expanding at the rate of just under 43 miles per second (70 kilometers per second) per megaparsec, a distance equivalent to 3.26 million light-years.
Expansion - Rate - Measurements - Hubble - Space
This expansion rate is slightly slower than previous measurements taken by Hubble and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia satellite, which indicated that the universe is expanding at 45.6 miles per second (73.5 km/s) per megaparsec. Another earlier measurement by ESA's Planck satellite has shown that the universe is expanding at a slightly slower rate of 41.6 miles per second (67.4 km/s) per megaparsec.
To measure the universe's expansion rate — a number known as the Hubble constant — astronomers typically look at stars and galaxies to see how fast they seem to be moving apart. The Planck measurement, on the other hand, is based on the cosmic microwave background, or leftover radiation from the Big Bang. By looking for these "echoes" of the Big Bang, Planck provided clues about what the universe looked like in its infancy and enabled predictions of how the universe would have likely evolved to reach its current expansion rate, Hubble scientists said in a statement.
Study - Question - Predictions - Universe - Turn
The new study puts into question predictions made about the universe that have in turn formed our current models regarding the universe's age, its origin and how it will evolve over time.
"The Hubble constant is the cosmological parameter that sets the absolute scale, size and age of the universe," Wendy Freedman, a professor of cosmology at the University of Chicago and lead author of the...
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