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Are we misunderstanding the universe? New measurements surprise researchers

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from: Tanya Banner

The universe is expanding – but the speed isn’t entirely clear. (iconic image) © NASA, CXC, IfA, NRAO, STScI, D. Sanders, and A. Evans

A new study raises the question of whether science has misunderstood the universe. It is about the basis for a complete understanding of physics.

Lausanne – The universe is expanding, as researchers Georges Lemaitre and Edwin Hubble discovered in the 1920s. Only the question of how fast the universe is expanding has not been unequivocally answered. The answer depends on how one measures the expansion of the universe. If you use the cosmic background radiation to define what’s called the Hubble constant, you’ll get a different value than if you use current stars and galaxies for it. This problem – the so-called Hubble effort – has preoccupied cosmology and astrophysics for years.

Now a research team from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) has added a new piece to the puzzle of the expansion of the universe. The research group led by Richard Anderson has performed the most accurate measurement of cryptosis to date and its results in the journal Astronomy and astrophysics published. Cepheids are a special type of variable star used to measure distances in space. Cepheid brightness is thought to be the first rung on the “cosmic distance ladder” used to measure the expansion of the universe.

The Expansion of the Universe: A New Study Published

Anderson’s team’s result confirmed this value again: if one used the “cosmological distance ladder” to determine the expansion of the universe, one would arrive at a value of 73.0 ± 1.0 kilometers per kilometer for the Hubble constant seconds per megaparsec (km/s/MPC). A megaparsec is 3.26 million light-years across – the value means that two points separated by a distance of one megaparsec are moving apart at a speed of 73.2 kilometers per second. On the other hand, if the cosmic background radiation is used to determine the Hubble constant, the value is 67.4 ± 0.5 km/s/Mpc.

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The Hubble effort is about a 5.6 km/s/Mpc discrepancy that research can’t explain. Cosmology assumes that the measurements are correct for both methods – which in turn means that our understanding of the fundamental physical laws of the universe may be wrong.

The Hubble constant: Are assumptions about the universe wrong?

Researcher Anderson says in one of them: “This contradiction is of great importance.” communication. He uses a terrestrial analogy to explain why the topic is so important: “Suppose you want to build a tunnel by digging into two opposite sides of a mountain. If you get the type of rock right and your calculations are correct, the two holes you are excavating will meet in the middle.”

The more confirmation we get that our calculations are correct, the more we conclude that the discrepancy means that our understanding of the universe is wrong, that the universe is not quite what we thought it was.

If not, you’ve made a mistake: Either the calculations are wrong or you got the rock type wrong, Anderson explains and now links his comparison to the problem of the expansion of the universe: “That’s the way it is with the Hubble constant. The more confirmation we get that our calculations are correct, We concluded that the discrepancy means that our understanding of the universe is wrong, and that the universe is not quite what we thought it was.”

The research is about very basic things: about dark energy, the space-time continuum and gravity, according to the EPFL statement. Anderson adds, “This means that we need to rethink the fundamental concepts that form the basis of our entire understanding of physics.” (Tab)