Universe expansion has been the subject of debate for decades and astronomers now claim they have made the most accurate measurement to date as to how fast universe expansion is occurring. Astronomers with the SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) state their analysis indicates that the universe has been expanding for the past 10.8 billion years. While the cataclysmic “Big Bang’ birth of the universe reportedly happened over 14 billion years ago, the scientists say that the force of this explosion hurled matter outwards which led to the expansion of our embryonic universe.
The subject of universe expansion has become increasingly important more recently because scientists now believe it could also help solve the mystery of the “dark energy” and dark matter believed to make up over 90 percent of the universe. The astronomers therefore felt they had to ‘step up” their research methods. They utilized two different techniques employing intergalactic hydrogen gas and quasars to measure the rate of universe expansion.
The star-studded astronomy team used a 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. They looked at 140,000 distant quasars, brightly lit areas in the center of huge galaxies when the universe was but one quarter of its current age. Their precise methods led to more than just the discovery that the universe has been expanding for 10.8 billion years. They also learned that the rate of universe expansion was 1% every 44 million years.
Andreu Font-Ribera of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory led the first of the two studies conducted by the team. To help note the significance of their measurement he stated: “If we look back to the universe when galaxies were three times closer together than they are today, we’d see that a pair of galaxies separated by a million light-years would be drifting apart at a speed of 68 kilometers per second as the universe expands.”
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