Astronomers have used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to determine that the universe is expanding faster than expected. The team used gravitational lenses to measure the expansion rate, called the Hubble constant. This is a new technology that is completely independent of any previous method of measuring expansion. The study was led by a team called H0LiCOW COSMOGRAIL, which conducted cosmological monitoring through gravitational lensing. The team’s main members are EPFL astrophysicists, who use gravitational lensing to make the most accurate measurements.
In this way, the gravitational pull of the foreground galaxy is like a giant magnifying glass, amplifying and twisting light from the background object. The results of the measurements show that the local universe is expanding faster than expected. The team calculated that Hubble’s constant value was 73km/s/Mpc, with an uncertainty of 2.4%. The measurements mean that every 3.3 million light-years away from Earth, a galaxy moves 73 kilometers faster, thanks to the expansion of the universe. The new values differ from the previous valueofs of 67 km based on the Planck satellite observations.
NASA has also used Hubble and lens technology to gain new insights into dark matter. The team said it made very impressive observations of cold and dark matter models and conducted so-called “flying color” tests. The team found that dark matter clumps alter the apparent brightness and position of each distorted quasar image. Surprisingly, the team says, the Hubble telescope still allows progressive research into basic physics after 30 years.