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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy

Hubble Telescope spots ‘ghostly face’ in space

It’s creepy and it’s cooky. And maybe even a little mysterious and spooky.

The Hubble Telescope has spotted two galaxies colliding into one another, creating “a ghostly face” in space.

The powerful space telescope, operated by NASA, the European Space Agency and Space Telescope Science Institute, took the remarkable image of the Arp-Madore 2026-424 (AM 2026-424) system, 704 million light-years from Earth, on June 19.

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This new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures two galaxies of equal size in a collision that appears to resemble a ghostly face. This observation was made on 19 June 2019 in visible light by the telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Residing 704 million light-years from Earth, this system is cataloged as Arp-Madore 2026-424 (AM 2026-424) in the Arp-Madore “Catalogue of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations”.

MILKY WAY GALAXY IS A COSMIC THIEF

“The crash has pulled and stretched the galaxies’ discs of gas, dust, and stars outward, forming the ring of intense star formation that shapes the “nose” and “face” features of the system,” the ESA wrote in a statement on its website.

The agency continued: “Ring galaxies are rare, and only a few hundred of them reside in our larger cosmic neighborhood. The galaxies have to collide at just the right orientation so that they interact to create the ring, and before long they will have merged completely, hiding their messy past.”

The ESA added that the side-by-side juxtaposition of the two central bulges of the stars is unusual. Given that they’re approximately the same size, it’s like that the galaxies were also the same size prior to the crash.

“This is different from the more common collisions in which small galaxies are gobbled up by their larger neighbors,” the ESA said.

It’s believed that the ring will last for approximately 100 million years, to be followed by the galaxies merging with one another in 1 to 2 billion years, the Daily Mail reported.

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Milky Way galaxy is a cosmic thief

Even Frank Abagnale, Jr. would be envious of this thievery.

A newly published study notes that the Milky Way stole several dwarf galaxies from the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy, including the Carina and Fornax, as part of a merger between the two that is still ongoing.

The LMC is approximately 158,200 light-years from Earth and contains roughly 30 billion stars.

The research is based on new data coming from the Gaia space telescope and found that “at least four ultrafaint dwarfs and two classical dwarfs” used to be part of the LMC, according to a statement announcing the findings.

Westlake Legal Group milky-way-thief Milky Way galaxy is a cosmic thief fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 76126472-304a-570e-b998-7d51f5832246

Visualization of the simulations used in the study. Top left shows dark matter in white. Bottom right shows a simulated Large Magellanic Cloud-like galaxy with stars and gas, and several smaller companion galaxies. (Credit: Ethan Jahn, UC Riverside.)

MILK WAY GALAXY’S CENTER EXPLODED 3.5M YEARS AGO

“These results are an important confirmation of our cosmological models, which predict that small dwarf galaxies in the universe should also be surrounded by a population of smaller fainter galaxy companions,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Laura Sales, in the statement. “This is the first time that we are able to map the hierarchy of structure formation to such faint and ultrafaint dwarfs.”

The cosmic swipes happened in the recent past, cosmically speaking, approximately 1 billion years ago. By comparison, the entire universe is widely accepted to be 13.8 billion years old.

“If so many dwarfs came along with the LMC only recently, that means the properties of the Milky Way satellite population just 1 billion years ago were radically different, impacting our understanding of how the faintest galaxies form and evolve,” Sales added.

Unlike spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, dwarf galaxies are small and only have a small number of stars, ranging from a few thousand to a few billion. The Milky Way is estimated to contain anywhere between 100 billion and 400 billion stars.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

The LMC and other galaxies like it host a great number of dwarf galaxies, many of which only contain dark matter, making them interesting to astronomers.

“The high number of tiny dwarf galaxies seems to suggest the dark matter content of the LMC is quite large, meaning the Milky Way is undergoing the most massive merger in its history, with the LMC, its partner, bringing in as much as one third of the mass in the Milky Way’s dark matter halo — the halo of invisible material that surrounds our galaxy,” said the study’s lead author, Ethan Jahn, in the statement.

Jahn added that it’s hard to know how many dwarf galaxies are hosted by the LMC (at least 7) and more may be discovered with further research.

“Small galaxies are hard to measure, and it’s possible that some already-known ultrafaint dwarf galaxies are in fact associated with the LMC,” he continued. “It’s also possible that we will discover new ultrafaints that are associated with the LMC.”

The study has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Mysterious ‘cosmic web’ that sticks the universe together pictured for first time

The cosmic web responsible for ‘gluing’ the far-flung galaxies of the universe together has been directly observed for the first time ever.

Scientists using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope were able to spot an ancient cluster of galaxies 12 billion light-years away that are linked together by a network of gas filaments.

The cosmic web theory is central to current explanations of how the universe formed after the Big Bang.

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However, until this observation, there had only been indirect evidence to suggest it existed.

Prof Michele Fumagalli, an astrophysicist at Durham University and co-author of the work, said: “It is very exciting to clearly see for the first time multiple and extended filaments in the early universe.

“We finally have a way to map these structures directly and to understand in detail their role in regulating the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies.”

The research team were able to directly detect the web by using intensive equipment designed to pick up the faintest of structures.

Galaxy clusters are known for being the most tightly gravitationally-bound structures in the universe.

They can contain hundreds of thousands of galaxies.

It has been predicted that 60% of the hydrogen created during the Big Bang can be seen as long filaments strung out across space in the cosmic web.

By mapping out some of the light emitted by hydrogen within a galaxy cluster called SSA22, the team were able to identify individual filaments of gas that make up a web-like structure between galaxies.

Erika Hamden, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona said: “These observations of the faintest, largest structures in the universe are a key to understanding how our universe evolved through time, how galaxies grow and mature, and how the changing environments around galaxies created what we see around us.”

It is thought that the cosmic web is the scaffolding of the cosmos and provides the framework for galaxies to form and evolve.

The latest observations support this theory by revealing supermassive black holes, starbursting galaxies and lots of active stars all at the intersections between the filaments.

First author of the research Hideki Umehata said: “This suggests very strongly that gas falling along the filaments under the force of gravity triggers the formation of starbursting galaxies and supermassive black holes, giving the universe the structure that we see today.”

The cosmic web has been observed before but only as short blobs of gas beyond galaxies.

Umehata noted: “Now we have been able to clearly show that these filaments are extremely long, going even beyond the edge of the field that we viewed.

“This adds credence to the idea that these filaments are actually powering the intense activity that we see within the galaxies inside the filaments.”

The findings have been published in the journal Science.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

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Huge cosmic structures already existed when the universe was a baby

Astronomers have discovered the oldest cluster of galaxies ever seen, which dates to the early universe.

The discovery, which could help explain the shape of the modern cosmos, reveals 12 galaxies that existed in a clump 13 billion years ago — just about 700 million years after the Big Bang. We can see them now because they’re so far away in the expanding universe (13 billion light-years) that their starlight is only now reaching Earth. One of the galaxies, a mammoth named Himiko after a mythological Japanese queen, was discovered a decade ago by the same team.

Surprisingly, the other 11 galaxies aren’t clustered around the giant Himiko, the researchers wrote in a paper that will be published on Sept. 30 in The Astrophysical Journal and is available as a draft on the website arXiv. Instead, Himiko sits at the edge of the system, which the researchers call a “protocluster” because it’s so small and ancient compared to most of the clusters we can see in the universe.

Related: 11 Fascinating Facts About Our Milky Way Galaxy

“It is reasonable to find a protocluster near a massive object, such as Himiko. However, we’re surprised to see that Himiko was located not in the center of the protocluster but on the edge, 500 million light-years away from the center,” Masami Ouchi, a co-author of the paper and an astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Tokyo, said in a statement.

Understanding how galaxy clusters came to turns out to be important for understanding the galaxies they contain. Most galaxies, including the Milky Way, show up in clumps with other galaxies, so the galaxies aren’t evenly distributed throughout the universe. And that clumping seems to affect their behavior, astronomers have said. Galaxies in high-density, clumped environments full of galaxies form stars in different ways than do galaxies in low-density environments empty of galaxies. And the impact of clumping seems to have changed over time, the researchers said.

In more recent times, the researchers wrote in the paper, “there is a clear trend that the star-formation activity of galaxies tends to be lower in high-density environment than low-density environment.”

So, clumped-up galaxies these days form stars less often than their more independent cousins do. It’s as if they’re aging faster in their clusters, the researchers wrote, becoming geriatric and giving up on making new stars.

But in the ancient universe, the trend seems to have been reversed. Galaxies in highly packed clusters formed stars faster, not slower, remaining young and spry compared with their cousins not in dense clusters.

Still, “protoclusters” like this one from the early eons of the universe are rarely found and are poorly understood, the researchers wrote. These clumps tend to be much smaller than modern examples, which can contain hundreds of galaxies.

The further back telescopes peer into time, the fewer protoclusters turn up. It’s possible many of them are simply obscured by intergalactic dust. The astronomers hope, they wrote, that the new discovery will help flesh out the picture and explain how the state of things 13 billion years ago changed over time to produce that clustered universe we see today.

Originally published on Live Science.

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3 monster black holes are going to collide

Three supermassive black holes are poised to collide.

These three monsters stand near one another in a system of merging galaxies that’s about a billion light-years from Earth, according to a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

“We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,” said Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the first author of the new study, in a statement. “This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes.”

Researchers had to combine data from telescopes on the ground and in space in order to pinpoint this rare black hole trifecta, according to NASA.

SLEEPING OCTOPUS’ AMAZING COLOR SHIFTS REVEALED IN NEW FILM

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This artistic interpretation shows two black holes on a collision course. In the newfound system, three supermassive black holes are going to merge. (MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images)

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One challenge in finding the three supermassive black holes, according to scientists, is that they are likely to be covered in gas and dust, which would block much of their light.

“Through the use of these major observatories, we have identified a new way of identifying triple supermassive black holes. Each telescope gives us a different clue about what’s going on in these systems,” said Pfeifle. “We hope to extend our work to find more triples using the same technique.”

If you’re keeping track: The system where the black holes are located is known as SDSS J084905.51+111447.2.

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NASA’s planet hunter has found a ‘star-shredding’ black hole

A ‘star-shredding’ black hole has been spotted for the first time by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

“TESS data let us see exactly when this destructive event, named ASASSN-19bt, started to get brighter, which we’ve never been able to do before,” said Thomas Holoien, a Carnegie Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement.

‘DRAMATIC’ BLACK HOLES STUN SCIENTISTS AS ‘WIMPY’ GALAXIES QUICKLY TRANSFORM INTO ‘RAVENOUS’ QUASARS

Westlake Legal Group NASATESSBlackHoleShred NASA's planet hunter has found a 'star-shredding' black hole James Rogers fox-news/science/air-and-space/nasa fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox news fnc/science fnc article 83532f78-1f28-57a9-8b41-0fa04df391cf

Illustration of a “star-shredding” black hole from a NASA animation. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

The black hole that generated ASASSN-19bt is at the center of a galaxy located 375-million light-years away. A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles.

The research is published in the Astrophysical Journal.

BLACK HOLE DEVOURING A NEUTRON STAR CAUSED RIPPLES IN SPACE AND TIME, SCIENTISTS SAY

Scientists have been gaining plenty of new insight into black holes. In a separate project, astronomers recently announced that they have spotted “dramatic” black holes in six galaxies, which could shed new light on galactic evolution.

Experts also recently announced that a black hole swallowing a neutron star has likely been detected for the first time.

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In another project, scientists released the first-ever image of a black hole earlier this year, revealing the distant object in stunning detail.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Mysterious, second interstellar object confirmed

It’s official. We have our second confirmed – and named – interstellar visitor.

The International Astronomical Union confirmed that the object formally known as C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is indeed from another solar system, giving it the proper name of 21/Borisov on Tuesday.

“The orbit is now sufficiently well known, and the object is unambiguously interstellar in origin; it has received its final designation as the second interstellar object, 2I,” the IAU wrote in a statement. “In this case, the IAU has decided to follow the tradition of naming cometary objects after their discoverers, so the object has been named  2I/Borisov.”

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The first-ever comet from beyond our Solar System, as imaged by the Gemini Observatory. The image of the newly discovered object, named 2I/Borisov, was obtained on the night of Sept. 9 using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. (Credit: IAU)

NEWLY DISCOVERED INTERSTELLAR VISITOR COULD BE INTERCEPTED, STUDY SAYS

21/Borisov was discovered on Aug. 30 by astronomer Gennady Borisov and, unlike its predecessor, Ouamuamua, will be observable for an extended period of time. It is likely a comet, given its short tail and “fuzzy” appearance, a description backed up by NASA JPL researcher Davide Farnocchia.

“The comet’s current velocity is high, about 93,000 mph [150,000 kph], which is well above the typical velocities of objects orbiting the Sun at that distance,” said Farnocchia in a statement posted to NASA’s website on Sept. 12. “The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space.”

Earlier this month, NASA JPL said 21/Borisov is approximately 260 million miles from the Sun and will reach its closest point, known as perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, when it gets within 190 million miles of the Sun.

It’s still unclear what Oumuamua actually is, although several theories have emerged, including one from Harvard University researcher Avi Loeb that it could be an extraterrestrial lightsail.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

The discovery of 21/Borisov raises new questions, IAU noted, including why interstellar objects were not previously discovered, their expected rate of appearance in the inner solar system and how they compare with similar bodies in the solar system.

“Large telescopic surveys capable of scanning large fractions of the sky on a regular basis may help to answer these questions and more in the near future,” IAU wrote on its website.

Researchers recently theorized that 21/Borisov could be intercepted using existing technology and studied to determine several aspects about it, such as whether it’s a comet or an asteroid. Experts also noted that it could be studied to see, what material, if any, it has picked up from other solar systems.

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Newly discovered interstellar visitor could be intercepted, study says

It’s been nearly a month since the second interstellar object, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was detected. And this newly identified object could potentially be studied, according to a new study.

The research, which can be found here, notes that C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), could be intercepted using existing technology and studied to determine a number of aspects about it, such as whether it’s a comet or an asteroid. Experts also note that it could be studied to see, what material, if any, it has picked up from other solar systems.

“Investigating interstellar objects from a close distance would provide us with unique data about other star systems without actually flying to them,” Andreas M. Hein, the executive director of Initiative for Interstellar Studies ‘ board of directors and one of the co-authors of the study told Universe Today via email.

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Comet C/2019 Q4 as imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Big Island on Sept. 10, 2019. (Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)

MYSTERIOUS, NEWLY DISCOVERED COMET IS PROBABLY AN INTERSTELLAR VISITOR, SCIENTISTS BELIEVE

“They might provide unique insights into the evolution and composition of other star systems and exoplanets in them. Interstellar objects are cool, as it’s a bit like: If you can’t go to the mountain, let the mountain come to you,” Hein added in the email. “It will likely take many decades until we can send a spacecraft to another star. Hence, interstellar objects might be an intermediate solution for finding out more about other stars and their planets.”

In the research, Hein and the other researchers suggested that by using the Optimum Interplanetary Trajectory Software (OITS) tool to generate trajectories for the object, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launcher could have sent a 2-ton spacecraft to the object if it was launched in July 2018.

Other launch dates would need more powerful systems, including a 2030 launch data using the presently under-development Space Launch System that would reach the object by 2045.

The research could also have implications for the study of other interstellar objects, including Oumuamua.

“If C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) turns out to be indeed an interstellar object, its discovery shortly after the discovery of Oumuamua implies that the next interstellar object might be discovered in the near future,” the study’s abstract states. “The feasibility of a mission to both, Oumuamua and C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) using existing technologies indicates that missions to further interstellar objects are likely to be feasible as well.”

Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was discovered on Aug. 30 by astronomer Gennady Borisov and, after much discussion, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) said it likely originated from another system.

Earlier this month, NASA JPL said the object is approximately 260 million miles from the Sun and will reach its closest point, known as perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, when it gets within 190 million miles of the Sun.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

Sending a spacecraft to Oumuamua would require fast thinking, as it was discovered in October 2017, but it may still be possible, Hein added. “Regarding ‘Oumuamua, we can launch a spacecraft toward it even beyond the year 2030,” he said in the email. “There is plenty of time to develop such a spacecraft.”

It’s still unclear what Oumuamua actually is, although several theories have emerged, including one from Harvard University researcher Avi Loeb that it could be an extraterrestrial lightsail.

Hein said that he anticipates there will be two types of research, one of which is using remote sensing with a telescope to take pictures. The second would be to actually analyze material on the interstellar objects and hopefully, capture some of the particles from the dust plume, which Hein noted would “provide unique insights into the composition of the object.”

Though it’s too soon to guess what the research could reveal, he speculated that there could be evidence  that “organic molecules the building blocks for life, actually travel between star systems,” adding that perhaps, “life itself might actually spread between stars in our galaxy.”

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Newly discovered interstellar visitor could be intercepted, study says

It’s been nearly a month since the second interstellar object, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was detected. And this newly identified object could potentially be studied, according to a new study.

The research, which can be found here, notes that C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), could be intercepted using existing technology and studied to determine a number of aspects about it, such as whether it’s a comet or an asteroid. Experts also note that it could be studied to see, what material, if any, it has picked up from other solar systems.

“Investigating interstellar objects from a close distance would provide us with unique data about other star systems without actually flying to them,” Andreas M. Hein, the executive director of Initiative for Interstellar Studies ‘ board of directors and one of the co-authors of the study told Universe Today via email.

Westlake Legal Group interstellar-object-new Newly discovered interstellar visitor could be intercepted, study says fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fox-news/science/air-and-space/asteroids fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 2ad2d098-343d-5f29-83ea-673291b5871c

Comet C/2019 Q4 as imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Big Island on Sept. 10, 2019. (Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope)

MYSTERIOUS, NEWLY DISCOVERED COMET IS PROBABLY AN INTERSTELLAR VISITOR, SCIENTISTS BELIEVE

“They might provide unique insights into the evolution and composition of other star systems and exoplanets in them. Interstellar objects are cool, as it’s a bit like: If you can’t go to the mountain, let the mountain come to you,” Hein added in the email. “It will likely take many decades until we can send a spacecraft to another star. Hence, interstellar objects might be an intermediate solution for finding out more about other stars and their planets.”

In the research, Hein and the other researchers suggested that by using the Optimum Interplanetary Trajectory Software (OITS) tool to generate trajectories for the object, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launcher could have sent a 2-ton spacecraft to the object if it was launched in July 2018.

Other launch dates would need more powerful systems, including a 2030 launch data using the presently under-development Space Launch System that would reach the object by 2045.

The research could also have implications for the study of other interstellar objects, including Oumuamua.

“If C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) turns out to be indeed an interstellar object, its discovery shortly after the discovery of Oumuamua implies that the next interstellar object might be discovered in the near future,” the study’s abstract states. “The feasibility of a mission to both, Oumuamua and C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) using existing technologies indicates that missions to further interstellar objects are likely to be feasible as well.”

Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was discovered on Aug. 30 by astronomer Gennady Borisov and, after much discussion, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) said it likely originated from another system.

Earlier this month, NASA JPL said the object is approximately 260 million miles from the Sun and will reach its closest point, known as perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, when it gets within 190 million miles of the Sun.

COMETS AND ASTEROIDS COULD BE FLINGING LIFE ALL OVER THE GALAXY, STUDY FINDS

Sending a spacecraft to Oumuamua would require fast thinking, as it was discovered in October 2017, but it may still be possible, Hein added. “Regarding ‘Oumuamua, we can launch a spacecraft toward it even beyond the year 2030,” he said in the email. “There is plenty of time to develop such a spacecraft.”

It’s still unclear what Oumuamua actually is, although several theories have emerged, including one from Harvard University researcher Avi Loeb that it could be an extraterrestrial lightsail.

Hein said that he anticipates there will be two types of research, one of which is using remote sensing with a telescope to take pictures. The second would be to actually analyze material on the interstellar objects and hopefully, capture some of the particles from the dust plume, which Hein noted would “provide unique insights into the composition of the object.”

Though it’s too soon to guess what the research could reveal, he speculated that there could be evidence  that “organic molecules the building blocks for life, actually travel between star systems,” adding that perhaps, “life itself might actually spread between stars in our galaxy.”

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Universe might be 2 billion years younger, shocking study says

The universe is assumed to be roughly 13.7 billion years old, but a stunning new study says it could be significantly younger than that — by a  couple of billion years.

According to the study, researchers used new calculations that took different approaches to figure out just how old the universe really is.

“We have large uncertainty for how the stars are moving in the galaxy,” the study’s lead author, Inh Jee, of the Max Planck Institute, told the Associated Press. The research has been published in Science.

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This image made available by the European Space agency shows galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2012, an improved version of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image. A study published Sept. 12, 2019, uses a new technique to come up with a rate that the universe is expanding that is nearly 18 percent higher than the number scientists had been using since the year 2000. (Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), HUDF 2012 Team via AP)

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The age of the universe comes from the Hubble Constant (H0), but according to the study’s abstract, different techniques “lead to inconsistent estimates” of the measurement.

“Observations of Type Ia supernovae (SNe) can be used to measure H0, but this requires an external calibrator to convert relative distances to absolute ones,” the abstract reads. “We use the angular diameter distance to strong gravitational lenses as a suitable calibrator, which is only weakly sensitive to cosmological assumptions.”

With the new calculations, the Hubble Constant, which measures the expansion rate of the universe, is now 82.4, which would indicate the universe is approximately 11.4 billion years old. At 13.7 billion years old, the Hubble Constant was 70.

Scientists estimate the age of the universe by using the movement of stars to measure how fast it is expanding. If the universe is expanding faster, that means it got to its current size more quickly and therefore must be relatively younger.

While Jee’s approach does give a starkly different figure for the age of the universe than has been commonly used, it’s not the only approach to give different figures. In the 1990s, there was a simmering astronomical debate over the age of the universe that was thought to have been settled.

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In 2013, a team of European scientists looked at leftover radiation from the Big Bang and pronounced the expansion rate a slower 67, while earlier this year Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute used NASA’s super telescope and came up with a number of 74. And another team earlier this year came up with 73.3.

Jee and outside experts had big caveats for her number. She used only two gravitational lenses, which were all that were available, and so her margin of error is so large that it’s possible the universe could be older than calculated, not dramatically younger.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who wasn’t part of the study, said it is an interesting and unique way to calculate the universe’s expansion rate, but the large error margin limits its effectiveness until more information can be gathered.

“It is difficult to be certain of your conclusions if you use a ruler that you don’t fully understand,” Loeb said in an email to the AP.

Loeb has gained notoriety in recent memory for suggesting that interstellar object Oumuaua is an extraterrestrial probe.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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