The Universe Is Expanding So Fast We Might Need New Physics to Explain It

The universe is expanding faster than expected, suggesting that astronomers may have to incorporate some new physics into their theories of how the cosmos works, a new study reports.

The revised expansion rate is about 10% faster than that predicted by observations of the universe’s trajectory shortly after the Big Bang, according to the new research. The study also significantly reduces the probability that this disparity is a coincidence, from 1 in 3,000 to just 1 in 100,000.

“This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke,” study lead author Adam Riess, a professor of physics and astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a statement.

“This is not what we expected,” said Riess, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2011 (along with Brian Schmidt and Saul Perlmutter) for showing, in the late 1990s, that the universe’s expansion is accelerating. It’s unclear what’s driving this surprising acceleration, but many astronomers invoke a mysterious, repulsive force called dark energy.

This illustration shows the three basic steps astronomers use to calculate how fast the universe expands over time, a value called the Hubble constant. All the steps involve building a strong "cosmic distance ladder," by starting with measuring accurate distances to nearby galaxies and then moving to galaxies farther and farther away. This ladder is a series of measurements of different kinds of astronomical objects with an intrinsic brightness that researchers can use to calculate distances.

This illustration shows the three basic steps astronomers use to calculate how fast the universe expands over time, a value called the Hubble constant. All the steps involve building a strong “cosmic distance ladder,” by starting with measuring accurate distances to nearby galaxies and then moving to galaxies farther and farther away. This ladder is a series of measurements of different kinds of astronomical objects with an intrinsic brightness that researchers can use to calculate distances.

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One thought on “The Universe Is Expanding So Fast We Might Need New Physics to Explain It

  1. Universe is extending and one factor missing from the finding which is: the density is decreasing. That means after a a point the quanta will be lost and it will start from the begining of a new big bang creating a new universe.

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