The simple idea of an everlasting expansion of the Universe is mind-blowing to many of us. What is it expanding into? What exactly is dark energy, the force that accelerates the expansion? What dwells beyond the edges of the Universe? And if it’s nothing, how could you describe this ‘nothing’? It’s impossible to imagine total nothingness, something that lacks even time and space.
Einstein once said that the Universe is static, but he later corrected himself. His initial claim turned out to be the biggest blunder ever made by the great physicist. We know for sure that the Universe is expanding since the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered it about a century ago.
An international collection of radio telescopes provides new results
The rate of the expansion of the Universe is also known as the Hubble constant. The study found out that the expansion rate is similar to what other observatories had seen. But as a whole, the new results differ significantly from predictions. The study also revealed that galaxies were huddling closer together than scientists predicted in calculations based on either the cosmic microwave background or the “standard model” of the Universe.
James Braatz from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), declared:
Our measurement of the Hubble Constant is very close to other recent measurements, and statistically very different from the predictions based on the CMB and the standard cosmological model. All indications are that the standard model needs revision
Astronomers analyzed four galaxies, which are located between 168 and 431 million light-years from Earth. Some of the most powerful radio telescopes were used, and we can mention here the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), and the Effelsberg telescope in Germany.
Perhaps the next big step in science is to find out what dark energy is made of, the ‘stuff’ that accelerates the expansion of the Universe. Until that moment, we know that it makes up 68% of the Universe’s mass.