Using NASA’s spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers announce the most accurate measurements of the Hubble constant or the rate at which our universe stretches. Hubble’s constant was taken from the name of an astronomer, Edwin P. Hubble, who had amazed the world in the 1920s when confirming that our universe had expanded since 13.7 billion years ago. In the late 1990s, astronomers discovered that the expansion of the universe was accelerating, or accelerating over time. Determining the extent of expansion is important in order to determine the age and size of the universe.

Unlike NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which sees the cosmos through visible light, Spitzer utilizes the wavelength of infrared light to make new measurements. This ability was developed by a factor of 3 in the same seminal study from the Hubble telescope and reduced uncertainty by 3 percent, a big jump in accuracy for cosmological measurements. The newly enhanced value for the Hubble constant is 74.3 plus or minus 2.1 kilometers per second per megaparsec. Megaparsec is around 3 million light years.

In addition, these findings are combined with publication data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe to get independent measurements of dark power, one of the biggest mysteries in our cosmos. It is thought to win the fight against gravity to stretch the universe. This acceleration-based research produced a Nobel Prize in physics in 2011.

Spitzer observes 10 Cepheids in our Milky Way galaxy and 80 other cepheids in the closest galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. In the absence of cosmic dust that obstructs the view, Spitzer’s research team was able to obtain more accurate measurements of the brightness display of the stars and thus found distance accuracy. These data pave the way for new estimates and are improvised on the level of expansion of our universe.


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