A new study suggests the Hubble constant, an estimate of the universe's dimensions and age, may be inaccurate:
The Hubble constant, long held to be a reliable parameter by astronomers and other scientists, was proved to have lagged – about 15 percent, in its measurements of the universe, a team of scientists said. The team comprising astronomers from the Ohio State University said the universe could be at least 15 percent bigger than the constant accepted for more than eight decades.
The team's study focused on two stars in the Traingulum Galaxy that eclipse one another every five days. Using new methods the astronomers measured the temperature, light and velocity of these star's intrinsic luminosity. Their method was developed over a decade and equipment included new telescopes that scanned in the infrared range.
The new results indicate the galaxy's distance from Earth as 3.14 million light years away whereas measurements based on Hubble law had said 2.6 million light years – a difference of nearly half a million light years. The difference has suggested that other measurements must be similarly imprecise.
If the team's calculations are closer, it would suggest the universe is actually 15.8 billion years old and 78 billion light years wide. Read more at EarthTimes.