A warp in the fabric of space and time that acted like a giant magnifying glass may help solve a celestial mystery about the rate of the universe's expansion, which could shed light on the ultimate fate of the universe, a new study finds.
The universe has continued expanding since it was born about 13.8 billion years ago. By analyzing the present rate of cosmic expansion, known as the Hubble constant, scientists can estimate the age of the universe and details of its fate, such as whether it will expand forever, collapse upon itself or rip apart completely.
Scientists use two primary strategies to measure the Hubble constant. One involves monitoring nearby objects whose properties researchers understand well, such as stellar explosions known as supernovas and pulsating stars called Cepheid variables, to estimate their distances. The other focuses on the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the leftover radiation from the Big Bang, examining how it has changed over time to estimate how quickly the cosmos has expanded.
Related: What is the Hubble constant?
However, this pair of methods has produced two different results for the value of the Hubble constant. Data from the CMB suggests that the universe is expanding at the rate of about 41.9 miles (67.5 kilometers) per second per megaparsec (a distance equivalent to 3.26 million light-years). In contrast, data from supernovas and Cepheids in the nearby universe suggests a rate of about 46 miles (74 km) per second per megaparsec.
This inconsistency suggests that the standard cosmological model — scientists' current understanding of the universe's structure and history — might be wrong. Resolving this controversy, known as the Hubble constant conflict, could shed light on the evolution and fate of the cosmos.
In the new study, an international research team explored another way to measure the Hubble constant. This approach depends on Einstein's model of gravity, in which mass distorts space-time, a bit like how a bowling ball might stretch a rubber sheet it was resting on. The greater the mass of an object, the more that space-time curves around the item, and so the stronger the object's gravitational pull is.
The way in which gravity behaves means that it can bend light like a lens would, so objects seen through powerful gravitational fields, such as those produced by massive clusters of galaxies, are magnified. Gravitational lensing was discovered a century ago, and today, astronomers often use these lenses to see features otherwise too distant and faint to detect with even the largest telescopes.
In the new study, the scientists investigated the distant supernova SN Refsdal located about 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth. It was named in honor of the late Norwegian astrophysicist Sjur Refsdal, a pioneer of gravitational lensing research.
"Sjur Refsdal had proposed that a strongly lensed supernova could be used in principle to measure the cosmic expansion rate," study lead author Patrick Kelly, an astrophysicist at the University of Minnesota at the Twin Cities, told Space.com. "However, no examples of multiply imaged supernovae were known until we found the first example, SN Refsdal, in 2015."
The researchers examined five gravitationally lensed images of SN Refsdal generated by a massive cluster of galaxies located about 5 billion light-years from Earth between our planet and the exploding star. Since light can take various paths around and through a gravitational lens, these images arrive at Earth at different times.
By measuring the brightness of each gravitationally lensed image of SN Refsdal for multiple years, the scientists estimated the time delays between each image to within 1.5%. By combining those estimates with models of the galaxy cluster's mass and the strength of its gravitational lens, they were able to measure the Hubble constant.
The new findings suggest a value of about 41.4 miles (66.6 km) per second per megaparsec for the Hubble constant. This is much closer to the CMB value than the one from supernovas and Cepheids. Still, the level of uncertainty in the data means "we cannot exclude the supernovae value," Kelly said.
If the supernova and Cepheid value for the Hubble constant does turn out to be correct, scientists may have to identify shortcoming existing models of dark matter in galaxy clusters. Astronomers will have to analyze more cluster-lensed supernovas using telescopes such as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile and the James Webb Space Telescope to either support the CMB value or the supernova and Cepheid value, Kelly said.
The scientists detailed their findings online today (May 11) in the journal Science.
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Pinning down H0 remains difficult and reconciling different methods that yield different results. Using H0 = 74 km/s/Mpc and redshift = 0, cosmology calculators show universe age = 12.906 Gy. Using H0 = 66.6 km/s/Mpc, age of universe = 14.339 Gyr.
Measuring the Variance of the Macquart Relation in z-DM Modeling, https://arxiv.org/abs/2305.07022, 11-May-2023.
My notes. Using https://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/toolbox/calculators.html, calculator the age of the universe using H0 = 85.3 km/s/Mpc = 11.197 Gyr. The light time distance or look back distance for z=2.0 is 8.490 Gyr or 8.49 billion light-years from Earth. Major differences for the age of the universe and other distance measurements show up using H0 = 85.3 km/s/Mpc.
Again, some might then say we exist in a local finite subjectively relative warp spacetime bubble hologram universe, a mirage. Maybe so but that is far from being a bad thing with the possibilities of such a Lewis Carroll 'Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass' universe . . . remembering that, Lewis Carroll; real name Charles Dodgson, was, under his real name, a well-known theorist in mathematics, logic, and so on, and a precursor visionary to the micro-world quantum mechanical theorists who followed. It works just fine as long as Dr, Samuel Johnson gets to kick the rock and maybe hurt his toe (circa 1687CE).
I can't seem to help occasionally (and both at once as the two sides of one and the same coin of multiverse universe) expanding hyperspatial levels to infinity, and equally but oppositely contracting hyperspatial levels to infinity, the universe on my own terms the way I see it to be. It follows observation but does it in a more dimensional horizontal-vertical "zoom" universe mode of revelation rather than .
The finite local-relative life cycle, a turning circle or wheel, and the countless-ness of wheels, of time, within the non-local, non-relative, immortality (T = 0|1 . . . and parity) of the infinities of horizons of the universe (the infinities of universes) does not change.
Why do we speak as if we know for a fact our universe is expanding? do we know for a fact it is and I'm just missing something. It's like our solar systems our house and we finally managed to step outside the front door on to our stoop and say oh hell I figured out the entire neighborhood or city just because we can see past the front door for the first time. How do we know the universe is truly expanding. We have just now gotten outside of our own personal space and for the matter of what I would be equivalent to milliseconds and the grand scheme of things, We can tell the direction that the surrounding galaxies are moving apart from each other. Others on a collision course with each other at the same time!!! Its like a ballroom of swirling dance partners we're destined to partner with the Andromeda. At a certain point ... Even if you were to be looking at our own satellite the Moon it would appear to be moving further from the Earth at a certain point in it's orbit . It would be obvious it's falling towards the Earth at another point in it's orbit but only when you wait long enough do you understand the concept of angular momentum it's coming back around this is the way the entire dance floor is working. Its just like water circling the drain in our superfluid universe, things first being pulled towards the drain and to the outer vortex would be getting further away from each other before they would get pull back into one singularity. If We can imagine ourselves not being the big guys the way we think about it and look at ourselves in the quantum aspect. And if that's so and gravity has such a powerful effect on space and time there are millions and trillions of years break down to milliseconds in the grand scheme. I think we become so convinced of our own intelligence we close our eyes to answers right in front of our faces convinced we got it right. It's like I always tell my little brother I'm the smartest dumb person you'll ever meet or maybe I'm the dumbest smart person you'll ever meet or maybe that's where we are as a species at this point. I apologize I wanted to come up with some sort of fact or epiphany or something new and enlightening on the subject.. but this is what you got
82 km/s/Mpc, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997ApJS..108..417Y/abstract
78.3 km/s/Mpc, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021MNRAS.tmp..648Q/abstract
75.1 km/s/Mpc, https://phys.org/news/2020-07-approach-refines-hubble-constant-age.html