The 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope attempts to identify how quickly the universe expands, and how much that expansion is accelerating through a number called the Hubble Constant (named after astronomers Edwin P. Hubble and Georges Lemaître who first attempted to measure it in 1929).
The Hubble Constant is a notoriously tough number to pin down because different observatories looking at different areas of the universe have produced different results.
SHOES-Supernovae, HO, for the Equation of State of Dark energy, led by Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is a scientific collaboration investigating the universe’s expansion rate
‘This is what the Hubble Space Telescope was built to do, using the best techniques we know to do it. This is likely Hubble’s magnum opus, because it would take another 30 years of Hubble’s life to even double this sample size,’ Riess said of the development,
The SHOES team produced a Hubble Constant estimate of 73. This turned out to be higher than previous research that combined the Standard Cosmological Model of the Universe and measurements by the European Space Agency’s Planck mission to predict a value for the Constant of 67.5 plus or minus 0.5 kilometers per second per megaparsec.
Who is right? It turns out it doesn’t matter so much. This confusion is exciting for astronomers like Riess.
‘Actually, I don’t care what the expansion value is specifically, but I like to use it to learn about the universe,’ Riess concluded.
More measurements are expected to come in the forthcoming 20 years from the James Webb Space Telescope, which is completing commissioning work in deep space ahead of looking at some of the first galaxies.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius