The universe is expanding far faster than we thought - and scientists are struggling to keep up. According to the astronomers, the chance that these results are somewhat mistaken is about one in 100,000.
He said: "This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke".
Scientists combined the Hubble data with distance measurements to the Large Magellanic Cloud made by the Araucaria Project, giving a new estimate of the Hubble constant as 74km (46 miles) per second per megaparsec with the uncertainty now 1.9 per cent (down from 2.2 per cent). Astronomers use these values, along with other measurements of the galaxies' light that reddens as it passes through a stretching universe, to calculate how fast the cosmos expands with time, a value known as the Hubble constant. The old method of measuring the stars was time-consuming because the Hubble could only observe one star for every 90-minute orbit around the Earth. With their new method called DASH (Drift and Shift), the researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope as a "point-and-shoot" camera to observe Cepheids groups, which allowed the team to spot 12 Cepheids in the same amount of time it would normally take to observe one.
The new evidence shows the universe is expanding about nine percent faster than was initially projected, casting doubt on the cosmological models which explain what happened after the Big Bang.
Scientists then combined the data with another set of observations, made by the Araucaria Project, a collaboration between astronomers from institutions in Chile, the USA, and Europe. The calculations are made by comparing distances of nearby galaxies to those of farther ones, using the stars as markers. As the measurements became more precise with the new data, the Hubble constant has remained at odds with expected values.
"We are measuring something fundamentally different", says Riess in the statement.
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While Riess doesn't have an answer as to exactly why the discrepancy exists, he and the SH0ES team will continue to fine-tune the Hubble constant, with the goal of reducing the uncertainty to 1%.
The new estimate of the Hubble constant is 74.03 kilometres per second per megaparsec .
This could rewrite the history of the Universe, which is largely based on our current grasp of physics. Hubble's Law is the observation that more distant galaxies are moving away at a faster rate, meaning galaxies that are close by are moving away relatively slowly by comparison.
Astronomers guess that the increase in the speed is due largely to an increase in the density of dark energy.
Most astronomers around the globe agree that it is the reason for the acceleration of the Universe's growth. One explanation proposed by astronomers at Johns Hopkins, is a theory dubbed "early dark energy", and suggests an unexpected appearance of dark energy in the young Universe. Data derived from Hubble observations has always been starkly different than earlier estimates of Universe expansion conducted by observing far more distant objects in the cosmos. "The differing values may be explained if the speed of light has changed between the early and late universe", said Louise Riofrio, an author and scientist who now works at an observatory association in Hawaii. An invisible form of matter called dark matter may interact more strongly with normal matter than astronomers previously thought. Compared to predictions of the early universe's development, the Hubble constant still does not coincide.
The uncertainty attached to this number is just 1.9%, the researchers said.