One of the most powerful tools the world knows when it comes to measuring the interstellar is the Hubble Space Telescope. The new examination of data from the 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope attempts to identify how quickly the universe expands, and how much that expansion is accelerating through a number called the Hubble Constant (named after astronomers Edwin P. Hubble and Georges Lemaître who first attempted to measure it in 1929). They say the expansion rate has become much quicker compared to the expectations.
US space agency NASA notes that “something weird” is going on in the universe based on the Hubble data due to there being a discrepancy in the rate of expansion of the universe as it is around us and observations made after the Big Bang. Researchers suggested that galaxies outside of our own were not stationary, explains NASA in a blog post In fact, these galaxies are moving away from us. Hubble had added that these galaxies were moving at a non-uniform, increasing pace. The further a galaxy was from Earth, the faster it was moving away. Scientists have since been trying to understand the phenomenon and measure the rate of this expansion. However, with data from the Hubble now available, it seems that the said expansion is even quicker than what models had predicted.
Instead of the expected 67.5 (plus or minus 0.5) kilometers per second per megaparsec, the observations noted 73 (plus or minus 1) kilometers per second per megaparsec.
“The Hubble constant is a very special number. It can be used to thread a needle from the past to the present for an end-to-end test of our understanding of the universe. This took a phenomenal amount of detailed work,” said Dr. Licia Verde, a cosmologist at ICREA and the ICC-University of Barcelona, speaking about the SHOES team’s work.
The team analyzed 42 of the supernova milepost markers with Hubble that are seen exploding at a rate of about one per year. Riess said, “We have a complete sample of all the supernovae accessible to the Hubble telescope seen in the last 40 years.” Like the lyrics from the song “Kansas City,” from the Broadway musical Oklahoma, Hubble has “gone about as far as it can go!”