The universe is growing at a faster pace than the scientists have previously thought. The Hubble constant has now been upgraded to 44.7 miles per second per megaparsec by a new team of astronomers.

The new number was derived by a team led by Sherry Suyu of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany and Frédéric Courbin of the école Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Though the number is in sync with a figure announced in 2016 by a team led by Nobel prize winner Adam Riess, it is considerably higher than the rate quoted by Planck satellite mission that said the expansion rate was about 41.6 miles per second per megaparsec.

Independent Probe

Suyu, who led the H0LiCOW collaboration, used the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA and other advanced instruments to observe five galaxies for an independent measurement of the Hubble constant.

Their independent data is in sync with the Hubble constant measured using Cepheid variable stars and supernovae as points of reference.

The team developed the measurements after measuring the way light bends around distant galaxies. This ratified the earlier findings that universe is getting bigger and is elongating at a rate faster than previously thought.

"The Hubble constant is crucial for modern astronomy as it can help to confirm or refute whether our picture of the Universe - composed of dark energy, dark matter, and normal matter - is actually correct, or if we are missing something fundamental,"  said Suyu.

The growing of universe was first reported by astronomer Georges Lemaître who found wider stretching of light waves from distant galaxies.

One school of opinion is that the divergence in value measured by Suyu and her team with that of Planck's data is due to the latter's benchmarking on early universe based on cosmic microwave background.

Warping Of Quasar Light

The study of Suyu and team involved huge galaxies that distort the light coming from distant, super bright quasars.

Using a different method to quantify the Hubble figure, Suyu and her team dispensed with the older technique of measuring light directly and opted to track the bending of light at the gravity mats of far-flung galaxies to document the speed at which the universe is expanding.

They selected the galaxies for their sandwiched positions between Earth and distant quasars.

Gravitational Lensing

The pressure of gravity made the light from the quasars bend in a curve around the galaxies driven by gravitational lensing. The not-so-round shape of galaxies also helped the astronomers in capturing brilliant images of the quasars.

Team member Frédéric Courbin explained that the method they followed had been simple and straight in measuring the Constant where only geometry and general relativity mattered and nothing else.

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