Einstein once thought that the Universe is static and not growing at all. That turned out to be the renowned physicist’s biggest blunder, even though he corrected himself. However, who in the world would have guessed around 100 years ago that the Universe is constantly expanding? Well, another scientist and astronomer named Edwin Hubble had irrefutably proved to us in the ’20s that the Universe is expanding.
He concluded that galaxies are flying away from us by studying the Doppler effect. Today, all astronomers agree to the fact that the Universe is constantly expanding, and they have been searching for explanations for this phenomenon.
Recent measurements of the Hubble Constant indicate a faster expansion
Scientists knew that the Universe is expanding at staggering speeds, but the latest study shows an even faster expansion. This time, they used a different method of measuring the expansion rate of the Universe (or the Hubble Constant): using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in combination with W. M. Keck Observatory’s Adaptive Optics (AO) system to observe three gravitationally-lensed systems.
Co-author of the study and Professor of Physics at UC Davis, Chris Fassnacht, stated:
When I first started working on this problem more than 20 years ago, the available instrumentation limited the amount of useful data that you could get out of the observations,
In this project, we are using Keck Observatory’s AO for the first time in the full analysis. I have felt for many years that AO observations could contribute a lot to this effort.
Lead author of the study is Geoff Chen, a graduate student at the UC Davis Physics Department. The team wanted to rule out all possibilities of error, and Chen stated:
When we thought that we had taken care of all possible problems with the analysis, we unblind the answer with the rule that we have to publish whatever value that we find, even if it’s crazy. It’s always a tense and exciting moment,
Why is the Universe expanding?
First of all, the Universe is expanding due to the Big Bang, which was practically his eruption into existence that occurred 13, 7 billion years ago. At that point, matter, space, and time itself began to exist. We are practically living in the “explosion” itself.
Second, the expansion is caused by a mysterious force called Dark Energy. This helps the Universe to accelerate in its expansion, and no scientist knows exactly what the Dark Energy actually is.
The results found by Geoff Chen’s team were published in the latest issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Jennifer Nunes loves downing more than a few cups of coffee while writing space, science and tech stories for Kent News Net. In her spare time, she enjoys pretending to be a runner, watching cheesy B movies, reading detective/horror fiction and playing video games.