Hubble Measurements Confirm There's Something Weird About How the Universe Is Expanding

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  3 months ago  •  53 comments

Hubble Measurements Confirm There's Something Weird About How the Universe Is Expanding
New results from the Hubble Space Telescope have deepened one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


originalAstronomers know that the Universe is expanding, and the expansion is accelerating. Sometimes you’ll hear news stories claim that the Universe is expanding “faster than we thought.” But that’s not quite what’s going on. The rate of the expansion, called the Hubble constant, is the subject of an important discrepancy: Its value changes based how scientists try to measure it. New results from the Hubble Space Telescope have now “raised the discrepancy beyond a plausible level of chance,” according to a paper set to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

As the space between the stars and galaxies grows, scientists have devised several ways to measure the rate of expansion. One method calculates the expansion based on the farthest radiation that our experiments can see, called the cosmic microwave background. Others have used information from supernovae to calculate the rate. Both of those methods have measured an expansion rate of around 67.7 kilometers per second per megaparsec—meaning for every 3.26 million light-years, the Universe is expanding another 67.7 kilometers per second faster.

But other measurements don’t agree. Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope recalculated the Hubble constant with the help of a recent high-accuracy measurement of the distance to a nearby satellite galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, as well as new observations of 70 Cepheid variables, a kind of pulsating star. Cepheids’ pulsation rate and brightness are closely enough related that their distance can be calculated. Combined with other improvements, they calculated the Universe’s expansion at 74 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

Basically—when scientists look farther away, the Universe seems to be expanding more slowly than when they look at the local Universe.

The new measurement officially makes the discrepancy significant enough that it’s implausible that it’s coming from random statistical fluctuations in the data. On top of that, other tests seem to show that the discrepancy isn’t caused by errors in any of the measurements. This means that the experiments might be measuring a feature of the Universe not explained by the most-accepted theory of cosmology.

It’s hard to say what’s truly going on, but the next step is clear. “Continued pursuit in precision in the determination of [the Hubble constant] is... needed to transition from the discovery of a difference to a diagnosis of its source,” the study authors write.

Scientists are already pursuing new ways to measure the Hubble constant, most notably using colliding neutron stars and the gravitational waves they produce in space itself. By calculating the distance to the collision using the gravitational waves and the speed that the stars are receding using the collision’s light, physicists will have another way to calculate the value of the Hubble constant.

So, again, it’s not that the Universe is expanding faster or slower than we previously thought. Instead, the discrepancy in these measurements may ultimately reveal an entirely new aspect of the Universe that scientists are currently in the dark about.

Initial image: The Large Magellanic Cloud with a Hubble close-up inset.
Credit: NASA, ESA, Adam Riess, and Palomar Digitized Sky Survey

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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    3 months ago
Basically—when scientists look farther away, the Universe seems to be expanding more slowly than when they look at the local Universe.

Einstein hit the brakes?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  JohnRussell    3 months ago

I think the future of human beings involves how we do things on this earth better. The "expanding universe" is a show and entertainment and a diversion for some. 

Our ability to "see" endlessly into space has grown sort of exponentially over the years. One could be tempted to say "so what"? 

 
 
 
luther28
2.1  luther28  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 months ago
Our ability to "see" endlessly into space has grown sort of exponentially over the years. One could be tempted to say "so what"? 

With that ability has come greater knowledge of what surrounds us and how it all came to be.

The future or not of human beings on this planet is moot, overpopulation and our lack of respect for our environment has doomed us (if we do not manage to blow ourselves up beforehand). Sorry to be so glum but not a whole lot being done in either of those two regards and we may have passed the tipping point in my opinion.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  luther28 @2.1    3 months ago

It's awful to say, but I'm rooting for China. They're making serious efforts, while America is still raping the planet at the behest of its ultra-rich rulers.

 
 
 
It Is ME
2.1.2  It Is ME  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.1    3 months ago
It's awful to say, but I'm rooting for China. They're making serious efforts

Why ?

What are they doing that is considered a serious effort ?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.3  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  It Is ME @2.1.2    3 months ago

Lots of things.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.4  JohnRussell  replied to  luther28 @2.1    3 months ago

Space exploration and colonization will be corporatized, monetized, and exploited (think "Columbus" or the movie "Aliens").  We should keep our greed and dysfunctions confined to earth.

 
 
 
It Is ME
2.1.5  It Is ME  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.3    3 months ago
Lots of things.

That tells me a bunch. jrSmiley_50_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
luther28
2.1.6  luther28  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.4    3 months ago

Again John hate to be glum, but tick tock, tick tock better begin to take action or we will not get to the point of exploration or colonization.

Better to take those funds and begin an concerted effort to clean up our mess here, let them corporatize and profit from that effort.

I'll be on the other side when the curtain falls so it only matters for the sake of those coming after myself.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.7  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  It Is ME @2.1.5    3 months ago

You wouldn't believe anything I say, anyway. If you really interested, Google is your friend.

I notice that you make no Comment in reaction to "... while America is still raping the planet at the behest of its ultra-rich rulers." Is that an oversight, or do you agree?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
2.1.8  Sean Treacy  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.7    3 months ago
I notice that you make no Comment in reaction to "... while America is still raping the planet at the behest of its ultra-rich rulers." Is that an oversight, or do you agree?

Do  you think your support for an authoritarian regime that's butchered millions and your disdain for America is something that requires comment? Must people always announce that water is wet every time they see water? 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.1.9  Greg Jones  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.1    3 months ago

 They're making serious efforts, while America is still raping the planet at the behest of its ultra-rich rulers.

You mean like building all those coal fired power plants?

The US has reduced emissions more than any other country.

 
 
 
It Is ME
2.1.10  It Is ME  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.7    3 months ago
You wouldn't believe anything I say, anyway.

Try me ! jrSmiley_15_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.11  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.8    3 months ago

Hi, Sean.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3  Freedom Warrior    3 months ago

Is there any reason why anybody should give a damn about any of this.  Seriously, it would make my day if someone could actually come up a reason.  Hey it could happen.  Say like a door to an alternate universe where left wing loony toons are left behind.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3    3 months ago

Knowledge?

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.1  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1    3 months ago

I already have knowledge.  I'm looking for a reason.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.1    3 months ago

... figures...

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.3  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1.2    3 months ago

Come on now, are you up to the challenge or not?

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.4  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.1    3 months ago

Isn't more knowledge a good enough reason?

 
 
 
luther28
3.1.5  luther28  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.4    3 months ago

:)

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.6  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.4    3 months ago

That question has already been answered.  So would you like to step up to the challenge?

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.7  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.6    3 months ago

I already gave you a reason. If that's not good enough for you, that's not my problem.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.8  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.7    3 months ago

As usual, looks like I am the one most equipped to respond to the challenge.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
3.1.9  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.1    3 months ago
I already have knowledge.  I'm looking for a reason.

"All we can know, is that we know nothing." Tolstoy

Believing we already "have knowledge" is what keeps man in the chains of ignorance and a slave to tradition. Understanding that we know relatively little about ourselves and even less about the universe should make the curious, the courageous, the spirited to never stop seeking a better understanding of our surroundings. I doubt when the first round rock was used as a wheel that the discoverer understood what that knowledge would some day lead to. I for one am glad they didn't just stop there saying "I already have knowledge"...

If we have to have a real world application for seeking any knew facts about our universe, then humanity will fall back in on itself and go extinct wallowing in protectionist fear and misery instead of allowing our boundless curiosity to bring us out of the darkness into the light.

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.10  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.8    3 months ago

Sounds like delusions of grandeur.

 
 
 
luther28
3.1.11  luther28  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.8    3 months ago
The reason for the Hubble Space telescope being in space is that from the Earth the telescopes have to look through the atmosphere.Jul 18, 2015

Why is the Hubble Space Telescope in space? (Beginner) - Curious ...


curious.astro.cornell.edu/.../telescopes/.../754-why-is-the-hubble-space-telescope-in-spac...
There you go, 101 easy to follow.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1.12  JohnRussell  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3.1.9    3 months ago

I support scientific investigation and public funding of scientific investigation. Scientific discoveries should belong to everyone and not to corporations for profit seeking.

However, I somewhat agree with those who say "who cares?" about the latest news about the "expanding universe" . Some people talk about scientific developments as if they are god, and appear to worship science. I don't get it.

There is much more to the "world" than the latest news about the expanding universe.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.13  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.3    3 months ago

I won't waste my time.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.14  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.10    3 months ago

  There is no grandeur required to get over this bar.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.15  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3.1.9    3 months ago

So your reason is that you fear that humanity will collapse if you don't pursue investigating the speed of expansion in our universe.

Personally I don't but alright go with that. 

But at the end of the day you will still "know nothing" according to Tolstoy.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.16  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1.13    3 months ago

Yet you are the one seeking knowledge just for the sake of knowledge.  That could be considered a waste of time could it not?

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3.1.17  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.12    3 months ago
I support scientific investigation and public funding of scientific investigation.

Private research and funding is the future of space exploration. Government grants for intended outcomes, stalling science.

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.18  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.16    3 months ago

No, it's not. How is seeking more knowledge a waste of time? Knowledge is a good thing.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.19  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.18    3 months ago

Knowledge is a good thing.  So is not wasting time on the pursuit of useless knowledge.  WHy is that so hard for people here to understand.  Doe all knowledge posses the same value.  What is knowledge without a purpose?  

You can break that down in many ways.  At least DM provided a reason.  Which I can't imagine there was much of a strain to provide.

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.20  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.19    3 months ago

How is space exploration and understanding of the universe useless? No such thing as useless knowledge either.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.21  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.20    3 months ago
How is space exploration and understanding of the universe useless?

I didn't say it was.  Does all knowledge have equal value?  What's the purpose?  That was the basic question.  Just saying because is not a real answer.

Do cost benefit equations matter in this realm?  Many questions to answer but having some reason beyond, it's knowledge would be a good start.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.22  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @3.1.20    3 months ago
How is space exploration and understanding of the universe useless?

Really the question is how understanding the speed of expansion in the universe is more beneficial than other pursuits constrained by budgetary considerations.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
3.1.23  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.15    3 months ago
But at the end of the day you will still "know nothing" according to Tolstoy.

It will likely take a billion life times to learn even one tenth of a percent of what there is to know in this universe. But is that any reason to stop learning? Do we just stop seeking facts and a better understanding of universe around us? I understand the religious who desire this, new understandings disrupt many of the claims religion has made throughout history, science and technology are a threat to it. But should we really give up our search just because somebody said they already know all that is needed to live a happy life which is to love and be obedient to their version of an invisible deity? I get it, there's little to no effort in that option, you can go crawl in a hole and do that, you just follow someone else's laws and rules instead of having to decide for yourself how to live. But I find seeking answers to unknown questions to be a far better use of time, even if the questions seem near limitless.

When we first discovered that the universe was expanding it was a shock to many, but that knowledge has led to many other exciting discoveries and a clearer understanding of physics, along with confirming one of Einsteins original theories. It's also led to the discovery of dark matter and dark energy. And now we have discovered an anomaly in the speed of that expansion which may lead to an even better understanding of dark matter which potentially could be an unlimited power source in the future. It might be what allows us to explore the galaxy. At this point without knowing, anything is possible, and that's the magic of science, no one knows what's right around the corner. With religion, they tell you their God is right around the corner but tell you you're forbidden from testing their claim. And when skeptics look around the corner and find nothing, the religious proclaim their God is hiding and can only be found if he wants to be found. What a scam.

Science hasn't replaced God, it is just an honest attempt to examine the universe around us and it comes into conflict with religion because it's adherents claim their religion is honest too but aren't able to empirically prove it in any way. This often leads to them getting red in the face in anger and storming off or possibly just charging the scientists with heresy and executing them as they had done for thousands of years to anyone who threatened their grip on power.

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.24  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @3.1.21    3 months ago
Does all knowledge have equal value?  

Knowledge itself is valuable. How it's used and implemented only increases that value. 

What's the purpose?

Increasing knowledge and understanding is the purpose. Knowing how the universe is operating might even benefit us as our species becomes an increasingly space travelling one.

 That was the basic question.  Just saying because is not a real answer.

And i gave you a basic answer.

Really the question is how understanding the speed of expansion in the universe is more beneficial than other pursuits constrained by budgetary considerations.

Budget isn't so much a concern here, since the observation of an expanding universe is observed simply by looking through a really cool telescope.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
3.1.25  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3.1.23    3 months ago

Finally a decent answer. You Win!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1.26  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.12    3 months ago

There is much more to the "world" than the latest news about the expanding universe

Like yet another rant against "rump"?

 
 
 
Gordy327
4  Gordy327    3 months ago

Imagine what NASA could accomplish if it had the same budget as the US military.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
4.1  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Gordy327 @4    3 months ago

Okay let's do that.

 
 
 
Gordy327
4.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Freedom Warrior @4.1    3 months ago
Okay let's do that.

Yes, lets. Now all we need is for Congress to approve.

 
 
 
Split Personality
5  Split Personality    3 months ago

NASA $19.5 billion

Military $989 Billion

Space Force  zero (2019) , $270 Million (2020)

Seriously?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @5    3 months ago

I assume the 2020 numbers are from the "Trump" budget?

 
 
 
Gordy327
5.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @5.1    3 months ago

Probably 

 
 
 
Gordy327
5.2  Gordy327  replied to  Split Personality @5    3 months ago

Slash the military budget by half, and divide it between NASA and education. We would still have a larger military budget than anyone else in the world. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Gordy327 @5.2    3 months ago

Give 200 billion dollars a year to NASA? No thanks. 

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
5.2.2  Freedom Warrior  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    3 months ago

Not without a purpose which is all I have asked anyone for.

 
 
 
Split Personality
5.2.3  Split Personality  replied to  Freedom Warrior @5.2.2    3 months ago

How are we going to learn how to navigate the universe if we do not understand it?

We need to locate additional planets to inhabit, plunder and ruin ( although the days of testing thousands of nuclear bombs is probably over ).

Think of all the precious metals floating around out there, ripe for the taking,

if we can solve inter stellar issues of our own survival here and abroad.

Even if we cannot do that and send AI bots, they have to be able to navigate and find fuels.

 
 
 
Gordy327
5.2.4  Gordy327  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    3 months ago
Give 200 billion dollars a year to NASA? No thanks. 

Why not? That seems like money better spent.

 
 
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