The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most powerful instruments known to the world when measuring galaxies. With more than a billion images of strange and interesting events happening around the universe, in its grip, Hubble is currently engaged in a vast amount of work – determining how fast our universe is expanding.
New discoveries have now claimed that the universe is not expanding at a uniform rate. The US space agency NASA has suggested that something “strange” is happening in the universe due to discrepancies in the rate of expansion of the universe around us and observations made after the Big Bang.
The measurements of Edwin B. Hubble and Georges Lemitre began with the study of how the universe expanded and how fast it began in the 1920s, many decades ago that the galaxies outside us were not static, in fact they were moving away from us. Hubble said these galaxies move at random, increasing speeds. The farther a galaxy traveled from Earth, the faster it receded.
Scientists have been trying to understand this phenomenon and measure the rate of this expansion. However, with Hubble’s data now available, the said expansion seems to be even faster than the models predicted. Observations indicate that it is 73 (plus or minus 1) kilometers per second per megaporce, instead of what is expected to be 67.5 (plus or minus 0.5) kilometers per second.
Scientists are currently studying the strange phenomenon of “milepost markets” in space and time. These can be used to monitor the rate of expansion of the universe as distant galaxies move further away from us. NASA says Hubble has measured more than 40 milepost markers since the telescope was launched in 1990.
While new data has kicked off a new assessment of our understanding of the expansion of the universe, scientists are now awaiting data from the new James Webb Space Telescope, which will allow us to look deeper into the matter. “The Web Space Telescope will extend Hubble’s work by showing these cosmic milepost markers at a greater distance or at a sharper resolution than Hubble can see,” NASA said.
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