New Data Reveals Known Universe is Younger and Expanding Faster

© NASANASA's Kepler space telescope, shown in this artist's concept, revealed that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way galaxy
NASA's Kepler space telescope, shown in this artist's concept, revealed that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way galaxy - Sputnik International
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New astronomical research details that the universe is younger than previously thought and is expanding much more quickly.

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Published Friday, the new data points to the known universe being an estimated 12.5-13 billion Earth years old, some one billion years younger than previously estimated by cosmologists.

Using data gleaned by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the revised age and expansion estimates from Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Adam Riess brought the standard model of physics to a momentary halt, as scientists around the globe ponder the implications of the new information.

Our faster and younger universe is estimated by the use of a mathematical calculation known as the Hubble constant, a number defined in the early 20th century but now — thanks to Reiss and his new research — claimed to be some 9 percent higher than previously stated.

The new number directly affects humanity's ability to guess at the age of the known universe, an integral physics calculation.

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As both Riess and proponents of the earlier Hubble constant figure argue that their calculations are the right ones, many are calling for a new physics to define the new measurements.

"It's looking more and more like we're going to need something new to explain this," noted Riess, a Johns Hopkins astronomer who won the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics.

Other scientists, including NASA astrophysicist and nobel winner John Mather, suggest two options to the cosmic conundrum: "One, we're making mistakes we can't find yet. Two, nature has something we can't find yet," according to the Deseret News.

Currently, most astronomers are confusingly suggesting that both Riess and the earlier model may be right — at the same time — particularly as "nobody can find anything wrong" with either measurement, according to University of Chicago astrophysicist Wendy Freedman, cited by KWTX.com.

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Finding a way to make the two different measurements reconcile requires creating a new way to talk about the Hubble constant and about physics and cosmology, according to scientists.

"You need to add something into the universe that we don't know about," noted Carnegie Institution for Science astrophysicist Chris Burns.

"That always makes you kind of uneasy,' he added, cited by Deseret News.

Whether dark matter, dark energy or another as-yet-undiscovered elemental force comes into play to explain how two results can be right at the same time, astrophysicists will still need to make changes in Einstein's general theory of relativity, a towering intellectual accomplishment recently supported in photographs taken of a black hole in galaxy M87.

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