A new study finds that we may be fundamentally wrong about some of the deepest parts of the universe.
For years, scientists have puzzled over the “Hubble tension.” This points to the difficulty in measuring how fast the universe is expanding: different measurements show different speeds, and scientists have been unable to say why.
This difference may be the result of problems with measuring velocity, or it may be the result of a deeper problem with the physics underlying those measurements. Scientists have been puzzled about the difficulties ever since, and have struggled to figure out why.
New research provides the most accurate measurement of a particular type of star yet. It also amplifies tension, indicating that our measurements are correct and that something deeper is going on as the universe expands.
“This discrepancy is of great importance,” Richard Anderson of the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, who led the work, said in a statement. Suppose you wanted to build a tunnel by digging into two opposite sides of a mountain.
If I understand the type of rock correctly and if your calculations are correct, the two holes you drill will meet in the center.
“But if they don’t, then you made a mistake — either your calculations are wrong or you are wrong about the type of rock. This is what happens with the Hubble constant.
The more confirmation we get of the accuracy of our calculations, the more we conclude that the discrepancy means that our understanding of the universe is wrong, and that the universe is not quite what we thought it was.”
In addition to calling into question our understanding of the expansion of the universe, it also has consequences for other physics, such as dark energy and gravity.
“This means we have to rethink the fundamental concepts that form the basis of our general understanding of physics,” Anderson said.
A paper describing the results, “A 0.9% Calibration of the Cepheid Galactic Luminometer Based on Gaia DR3 Data for Open Clusters and Occurs,” was published this week in Astronomy and astrophysics.
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