Our Universe is a mysterious place and quite often scientists get confused about what is actually happening in it. Dealing with data that has travelled billions of light years is no easy task and each method of data processing leads to a different conclusion. This is what has happened with a group of Astronomers at the University of Arizona.
The scientists used supernovae, remnants of exploded stars, as a reference to measure the expansion of the universe. Their results are very different from what was expected, the rate of the expansion of the universe is much slower than previously believed.
The study also cited that the results indicate that there is a significantly lower amount of dark matter than was previously believed. The reason that the team used supernovae as reference point is that they are thought to be uniform enough for distances to be easily measured. The results showed that the supernovae were not uniform, but varied to form different sets of populations.
The findings are so interesting because they could redefine the way we see our universe, all the math used to understand the universe needs to be redone. This would also mean that many of the distances measured between cosmological objects are incorrect.
The study even if found to be incorrect can deepen our understanding of supernovae. The astronomers were able to identify supernovae in the early universe, which were previously undetected. Using the assumption that type Ia supernovae would have uniform brightness when moving further away, the team used them as references to see change overtime.
Our current view of the universe has been that the rate of its expansion is increasing, with dark energy being the driving force.
This view had been accepted in 2011, after a trio of astronomers found that the supernovae appeared to grow fainter with time, since they had moved away. Using the data from NASA’s swift satellite, UV images, and Hubble Space Telescope, visible images, the team was able to clarify the result of the previous study.
What the team in 2011 thought was the same type of Ia supernovae are actually very different. Whether the results of this study are accepted, remains to be seen.