Hubble and Gaia
Using two of the world's most powerful space telescopes — NASA's Hubble and ESA's Gaia — astronomers have made the most precise measurements to date of the universe's expansion rate.NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

As we all know by now, the universe is expanding constantly; however, measuring the rate of this expansion is not a very easy task. Just about this week, NASA has announced that the most accurate measurements till date have been accomplished recently with the help of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's space observatory Gaia. The combined effort of these two powerful assets now puts the inaccuracy of the new measurements at just 2.2%.

The new data, gathered by making use of Hubble and Gaia, added more information to support the fact that the expansion rate is different in case of the nearby universe and the primitive universe. This data may even lead to new physics, and allow the experts to better comprehend the origin of the universe as well.

Hubble and Gaia's new data has also managed to refine the Hubble constant's value. Hubble constant is the rate, at which scientists believe the universe is expanding since its inception or the big bang. The Hubble constant is one of the most significant factors in concluding the universe's age. Also, it is one of the most crucial and challenging questions of this time.

The most recent value of the Hubble constant has been determined by gauging the distance between the galaxies and that has been accomplished by tracking down the light's stretch between them. After that, all the distances were compared to space's expansion rate for finding the Hubble constant's value. One thing to note here is that these values are entirely at odds with the prior measurement values, which were taken by the Plank mission of the European Space Agency.

"It's as though you predicted how tall a child would become from a growth chart and then found the adult he or she became greatly exceeded the prediction," Space Telescope Science Institute's Adam Riess explained.

Planck's predictions had concluded the nearby universe's expansion rate today at 41.6 miles per second per megaparsec; whereas, the new Hubble and Gaia measurements put it at 45.6 miles per second per megaparsec. No doubt; the smartest minds in the world are now trying to make sense of this.

Although the new results have been quite shocking, undoubtedly, it's a thrilling new discovery, which could become essential in drastically changing most of the facts that we have concluded regarding the universe so far.