Latest Astronomy News regarding the Universe
Universe: One Verse; God is One.
3 astronomers were awarded 630,000 bucks for determining the rate of expansion of the big U.
"They were able to measure the light from these unstable stars (800 Cepheid variables) to calculate the distance between galaxies, allowing them in 2001 to calculate the current rate of expansion at about 72km per second per megaparsec (a megaparsec is 3.26 million light years).
That means the so-called Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.
Only last month an observation from the Hubble refined the expansion rate to 74.2km/s/m, well within the 10 per cent range first calculated by the astronomers. The work has allowed scientists to gauge the density of the universe, helping research into so-called "dark energy".
This is the force that scientists believe acts against gravity and explains why the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, suggesting it will expand endlessly rather than eventually contract under the force of gravity.
"That is one of our deepest mysteries, to try to explain why does the universe keep expanding," said Professor Mould. "The age of the universe is integrally tied up with how much dark energy there is."
It was another Australian-based Gruber prize winner, Brian Schmidt, who, along with a rival research team, discovered in 1998 that the expansion was accelerating. It suggests a future where galaxies will continue to fly away from each other, eventually disappearing from view in billions of years' time.
Professor Mould thinks, "It is a pretty bleak future if you extrapolate far enough," he says.
1 year ago