Ever since the Big Bang, some 13.8 billion years ago, our universe has been expanding and it’s getting faster in its acceleration as it expands.
Scientifically known as the Hubble Constant, it explains the rate of expansion of our universe; astronomers have spent decades trying to quantify its speed. Now, according to a set of new measurements –most accurate ever—scientists have discovered that the expansion of the universe is approximately 8 percent faster than previously predicted, contradicting all known scientific theories.
According to scientists, the numbers do not fit into the measurements of the radiation left by the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Why is this important? Well, this discovery basically means that if the measurements are backed up in the future by more studies, it could lead to all of the known laws of cosmology being COMPLETLY rewritten.
‘I think that there is something in the standard cosmological model that we do not understand,’ Professor Adam Riess, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University, who led the latest study, told Nature.
According to researchers, mainstream models of cosmology suggest that there are competing forces of dark matter and dark energy which have fueled the evolution of the universe. According to researchers, Dark Matters gravity is believed to slow the cosmic expansion while dark energy is the force that pushes in the opposite direction and makes it accelerate.
This means that if the universe is, in fact, expanding at a much faster rate, than dark energy the mystery force that is believed to be responsible for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe has become much more ‘aggressive’ since the beginning of time causing the universe to expand much faster.
Moreover, previous studies performed by Professor Riess and other scientists have demonstrated that dark energy’s strength has been constant since the beginning. However, over the years, these predictions have been in conflict with measurements of the rate of cosmic expansion, the Hubble constant. Scientists are able to calculate the Hubble constant by observing the speed of which galaxies located in our vicinity are moving away from our galaxy, using stars of known brightness called ‘standard candles.’
The results were exciting. The measurements were within an acceptable error margin suggesting that the difference were ignored until now. Professor Riess and his colleagues studied two standard candles in 18 galaxies thanks to hundreds of observational hours on the Hubble Space Telescope.
The results? Well, the measured the constant with an uncertainty of 2.4 percent, down from the previous best result of 3.3 per cent discovering that the speed of expansion is in fact 4 percent faster than that predicted in earlier studies.
This has led numerous researchers like Professor Kevork Abazajian, a cosmologist at the University of California, Irvine to comment on the discovery. According to Professor Abazajian, these results have the potential of ‘becoming transformational in cosmology’.
‘If we take the conflict between Planck high-redshift measurements and our local determination of the Hubble constant at face value, one plausible explanation could involve an additional source of dark radiation in the early universe,’ the researchers said.
One explanation according to researchers is that elementary particles that constitute ‘dark matter’ have entirely different properties than what researchers believed possible, which would automatically affect the evolution of the early universe. However, another option is that dark energy is not constant as it was previously believed and that it has become stronger in recent eons.
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook