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The universe is expanding faster than we thought – a "cosmology crisis"



  • The universe is expanding faster than scientists predicted, a discovery that created what an astrophysicist calls the "cosmology crisis."
  • A new study has confirmed this dilemma using new telescopic technology and Hubble Space Telescope data NASA. [19659002] Scientists still cannot explain the discrepancy between their models and the new measurements.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The universe is expanding much faster than scientists have predicted, and nobody knows why.

A team of researchers have confirmed this dilemma with data collected using new telescopic technology that relies on shape shift mirrors. According to their study, published last month in the Royal Astronomical Society's Monthly Newsletter, the exact measurements of the speed at which the universe is expanding do not fit the standard model scientists have used for decades.

"This is the crisis in cosmology," says Chris Fasnacht, astrophysicist and co-author of the study, in a press release.

Other studies published earlier this year came to similar conclusions.

discrepancy is increasing and now is a moment that is truly impossible to dismiss as a mock-up. That discrepancy could not be plausible, "said Adam Riess, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist behind the study, which came out in April, adding in a press release on

. He added that these findings" may be the most exciting development in cosmology for decades. "

The Hubble constant mystery

The universe is always getting bigger, stretching galaxies farther from art. For decades, scientists have been trying to measure how fast the universe is evolving ̵

1; called a constant of Hubble.

Researchers Collected at the history of the universe, studying the radiance of radiation left over from the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago, called the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).

When scientists study CMB, they look both far and away in the past. since light travels at a constant speed, when we look at the sun, for example, what we see on earth is the sun as it appeared 8 minutes ago, because it is about 8 light minutes. So when scientists look at objects far enough away, they see them as they were at the beginning of the universe.

Based on these observations, scientists have discovered that after the Big Bang, the universe is expanding very quickly at first. Enlargement then slows as the gravity of dark matter – a mysterious, invisible force that makes up about 85% of all matter in its universe – pulls back.

 Cosmology with the standard model of the universe

Image of the artist of the standard model of cosmology.

BICEP2 COOPERATION / CERN / NASA


But they have recently encountered a problem.

Measurements of the modern universe show that it expands much faster than predicted by the standard model. An April study by Riess found that the universe was expanding 9% faster than predicted by CMB-based calculations.

"It's not just two experiments that disagree," he said at the time. "We measure something fundamentally different. One is to measure how fast the universe is expanding today, as we see it. The other is to forecast based on the physics of the early universe and how fast it should expand. If these values ​​don't they agree, it is very likely that we will miss something. "

New technology has confirmed the dilemma – but we are no closer to solving it

 Hawaii w m keck telescopes observatory

Mauna Kea Keck I and Keck II telescopes in Hawaii.

W.M. Keck Observatory


For the new study, researchers used an advanced mirror system in the telescope of the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The device uses flexible mirrors that can correct distortions caused by the earth's atmosphere and return extremely sharp images of objects into the sky.

The researchers directed the telescope to three systems of bright, highly active galaxies called quasars.

They explored the quasars using a process called a gravitational lens, which measures how light bends as it travels through massive objects on their way to Earth. A massive object (such as a giant galaxy, say) bends light in different directions, allowing scientists to see different, distorted versions of the same quasar from slightly different times in its past. They can then compare these different images to calculate how long it takes for the quasar light to reach us and gather information about how much the universe has expanded during this travel time.

 quasar lenses

Images of the three object quasar systems.

Mr. CHEN, C. FASSNACHT, UC DAVIS


Similar to previous studies, new results show that the universe is expanding faster than predicted by the standard model. The researchers compared their results with data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the findings were consistent.

"The difference in the Hubble constant between the early and late universes means that something is missing in our current standard model," astrophysicist Sherry Suw said in a recent study release. "For example, it could be exotic dark energy, or a new relativistic particle, or some other new physics that has not yet been discovered."

 Big Bang

Computer animation about what the Big Bang might look like.

NASA Goddard


Scientists do not yet know what this missing piece can be. Some believe that the culprit may be dark energy, the term for the mysterious, invisible power that represents about 68% of the universe. This energy could accelerate the expansion as it is pushed out and exceeds the gravity of the dark matter.

Fasnacht said he hoped scientists would continue to use this new telescopic technology to collect more accurate data while looking for missing parts in their understanding of the universe.

"Perhaps this will lead us to a more complete cosmological model of the universe," he said.


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