AKIPRESS.COM – The universe is growing 9% faster than expected by scientists, according to a new study. New physics may be obliged to understand why.
Although scientists have been saying for years that this rapid rate of expansion is true, the new measurements collected by the Hubble Space Telescope have helped to confirm, CNN reported.
The speed of expansion is in contradiction with the universe's trajectory shortly after the Big Bang, more than 13 billion years ago. This trajectory was measured with a Planck satellite by the European Space Agency. The satellite was able to map out the 380,000 years after the Big Bang, called Cosmic Microwave Background, allowing for the evolution of the universe.
Scientists thought the discrepancy was a coincidence. The Hubble data makes it less likely, putting it at a chance of 1 per 100,000.
We know that the universe is constantly expanding as the space between galaxies grows, but scientists have been striving to determine the real pace for decades.
The study was accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
"Hubble's tension between the early and the late universe may be the most exciting development in cosmology for decades," said Adam Rees, author of the research, professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and a Nobel Prize laureate. "This discrepancy is growing, and now it has reached a point that is truly impossible to dismiss as an accident, and this discrepancy can not happen by accident."
Riess leads a project called the SH0ES team that works on this study.
To gather this new data, Hubble measures the 70-star light in an adjacent galaxy, the Big Magellanic Cloud, which is 162,000 light-years away. Pulsing stars have predictable oscillation and dimming rates, and this can be used to measure galaxy spacing. The stars are known as Cepheid variables.
These measurements help in calculating the Hubble constant, the speed of expansion of the universe over time, and the strengthening of the space ladder that can determine the distance in the universe.