The universe is expanding faster than expected, astronomers may need new physics to to incorporate onto theories on how the cosmos work. The new study was published April 25 in The Astrophysical Journal.
“Astronomers are gonna have a hard time figuring this out; it’s crazy to think that a human could explain how or why the universe is expanding, and why it’s doing it at such a fast rate,” sophomore Marcus Temple said.
The new expansion rate is about 100% faster than the predicted rate from observations shortly after the big bang. This also significantly reduces the chance that this is a coincidence, from 1 in 3,000 too 1, in 100,000.
“This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke,” study lead author Adam Riess, a professor of physics and astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a press release.
It is unclear what is driving this accelerated expansion, but many astrologers invoke the a force called dark energy. The present day expansion rate is known as the Hubble Constant, the new Hubble Constant is about 46 miles per second per megaparsec (one parsec is about 3.26 million light years). The uncertainty attached to this number is 1.9% which is the lowest value to date, this is down from 10% in 2001 and 5% in 2009.
“There is still so much we don’t know and it amazes me that we can calculate how fast the universe is expanding and be almost certain that it is not wrong,” junior Cameron Fergie said.
The expected expansion rate is about 41.9 miles per second per megaparsec. This projected rate is based on observations that Europe’s Planck satellite made of the cosmic microwave background using the light left over from the Big Bang.
For more information, read the article for free at the online preprint site arXiv.org.