NASA reveals: Universe is EXPANDING FASTER than expected

Pablo Tucker
April 28, 2019

New measurements taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope helped collect the data for the study.

It's good news for scientists since it means that boffins will now have to come up with new theories to explain what is going on.

This concept lies at the heart of our modern cosmology, in which the entire Universe and all that fills it such as space, time and matter, burst into existence in a Big Bang. The space between galaxies is stretching, like dough rising in the oven.

Our universe is expanding much faster than previously thought. And the chance that the discrepancy is a fluke or an error is now just one in 100,000. This is a significant gain from an earlier estimate, less than a year ago, of a chance of 1 in 3,000.

According to scientists, this value of the Hubble constant is at odds with the estimates from the Planck telescope, which calculates the value of the Hubble constant to be 67.4 kilometres per second per megaparsec (±0.5).


He said: "This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke". But, in the decades since then, our methods have refined.

Because of the way they brighten and dim at predictable rates, these stars, called Cepheid variables, can be used to measure distances in the universe.

While Riess doesn't have an answer as to exactly why the discrepancy exists, he and the SH0ES team will continue to fine-tune the Hubble constant, with the goal of reducing the uncertainty to 1%.

The team analyzed the light from 70 Cepheid variables in a neighboring satellite galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, now calculated to be 162,000 light-years away.

With no reason for the discrepancy as of yet, the team is now working to reduce uncertainty from 1.9pc to 1pc.


The team's discovery now significantly contradicts findings made by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite, which drew on data observed 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Both values have been tested multiple ways. 'We are measuring something fundamentally different.

Newswise - New measurements from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm that the Universe is expanding about 9% faster than expected based on its trajectory seen shortly after the big bang, astronomers say. The other is a prediction based on the physics of the early universe and on measurements of how fast it ought to be expanding. The fact the two values differ indicates that something is missing in the current model. This work provided additional distance measurements, helping the study team to improve their understanding of the Cepheids' intrinsic brightness. But trying to harvest a bunch of these stars was so time-consuming as to be almost unachievable. They used a newly developed technique that allowed them to observe more stars in a shorter period of time. "Instead, we searched for groups of Cepheids close enough to each other that we could move between them without recalibrating the telescope pointing". "These Cepheids are so bright, we only need to observe them for two seconds. So, we stay on gyroscope control and keep "DASHing" around very fast".

Scientists then combined the data with another set of observations, made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from institutions in Chile, the US, and Europe. The method depends on accurate measurements of the distances to nearby galaxies, with stars as mileposts. Proposed by astronomers at Johns Hopkins, the theory is dubbed "early dark energy", and suggests that the universe evolved like a three-act play.

Another hypothesis is that dark radiation is present in the universe. "This is not what we expected", says Adam Riess, professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins, a Nobel Laureate and the project's leader in the statement. "The differing values may be explained if the speed of light has changed between the early and late universe", said Louise Riofrio, an author and scientist who now works at an observatory association in Hawaii.

However, there are other options such as that the universe's dark matter is interacting more strongly with normal matter than astronomers have accounted for. A less exciting explanation could be that there are "unknown unknowns" in the data caused by systematic effects and that a more careful analysis may one day reveal a subtle effect that has been overlooked.


Before Hubble was launched in 1990, estimates of the Hubble constant varied by a factor of two.

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