There is certainly a lot that we don’t understand about the universe and one of the most enduring mysteries of them all concerns the fact that the cosmos is expanding at an accelerating rate.
For years, scientists have been collecting data and making astronomical observations in an effort to accurately calculate the rate of this expansion and to understand what might be driving it.
Now NASA has revealed that the latest data from the Hubble Space Telescope seems to support the idea that something ‘weird’ is going on – there is a peculiar discrepancy in the rate of expansion in the universe around us compared to observations from immediately after the Big Bang.
The findings are based on almost 30 years of observations in which the telescope has been calibrating ‘milepost markers’ to help scientists calculate the rate of expansion.
“You are getting the most precise measure of the expansion rate for the universe from the gold standard of telescopes and cosmic mile markers,” said study leader and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess.
“This is what the Hubble Space Telescope was built to do, using the best techniques we know to do it. This is likely Hubble’s magnum opus, because it would take another 30 years of Hubble’s life to even double this sample size.”
The discrepancy suggests that the expansion of the universe is a lot more complex than expected and there could be new physics at play that we simply don’t yet understand.
It is hoped that future observations through newer telescopes such as the James Webb will provide additional data to help solve this cosmic conundrum once and for all.