Astronomers have started to make much more accurate distance measurements between the Earth and stars thanks to new technologies. These measurements showed that the universe is expanding faster than predicted.
The spacecraft of the European Space Agency, named Gaia, has recently done a very important study in order to see the distances in space. The vehicle, which has been in space for six years, has continuously captured images of 1.3 billion stars. Thanks to the differences between the images, interstellar distances could be observed much more sharply.
These observations bring new discussions and discoveries in the world of science. The first of these was the expansion rate of the universe. It turned out that the rate of expansion is much higher than our previous estimates.
New information about the universe
Astrophysicist Jo Bovy from the University of Toronto stated that Gaia’s measurements are the most accurate and precise distance determinations to date. The range of the vehicle was more than 1.6 million kilometers.
The best part for cosmologists was that Gaia’s new catalog gave precise information about the locations of celestial bodies that are very close to us when we look at a universal scale. Thus, new information sparked the biggest controversy in modern cosmology: the rapid expansion known as the Hubble tension.
According to studies so far, the universe was expanding at 67 kilometers per second per megaparsec. In other words, the distance between two fixed objects increased every second. Actual measurements revealed that the speed was greater. This showed that there were some unknowns that increased the rate of expansion.
Speed measured at 73 kilometers
According to a study published on Dec. 15 and featured in The Astrophysical Journal, the rate of expansion of the universe was 73.2 kilometers per megaparsec. The margin of error was announced as 1.8%. So even at best, the universe is expanding faster than previously observed.
Other researchers are also preparing to publish their work on the subject. It is stated that these researchers will give lower figures but still offer more than estimates. The only certain thing is that the universe is constantly expanding.