A series of measurements conducted with the help of gravitational lensing reveals that the universe is expanding at a faster rate than it was previously thought.
A team of astronomers who employed the Hubble Space Telescope made the discovery. They measured the Hubble constant, the scientific name for the expansion rate, by using gravitational lensing, a new technique that was developed by EPFL’s Laboratory of Astrophysics.
COSMOGRAIL (Cosmological Monitoring of GRAvitational Lenses ) is a significant initiative created by EPFL to monitor and observe gravitational lenses. Researchers will use the gravity exerted by a foreground galaxy as a massive magnifying lens that can amplify and distort light released by background objects. Measurements taken with the gravitational lensing method are the most accurate yet.
Researchers calculated the Universe expansion rate thanks to gravitational lensing
Data collected by the scientists infer that the expansion rate is faster than some believed. A Hubble constant value of 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec (with 2.4% uncertainty) was calculated. For every additional 3.3 million light-years between a galaxy and Earth, the galaxy will appear to move at 73 kilometers per second faster due to the speed at which the universe expands.
The value is higher in comparison to the previous one of 67, which was estimated by using data collected by the Planck satellite. Operated by the European Space Agency, the Planck satellite analyzes background radiation released during the early days of the universe.
The discrepancy between the two numbers has caused a heated debate in the scientific community. Knowing the precise value for the rate at which the universe expands is essential. An accurate value of the Hubble constant plays a vital role in calculating the age, size, and other traits of the cosmos.
The difference between the two results may infer that further research is needed before scientists will fully understand how matter and energy will evolve.