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Distant galaxies could hold the true answer to cosmic expansion

30 Jan 2019, 09:43 UTC
Distant galaxies could hold the true answer to cosmic expansion
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Artist’s impression of quasars, the cores of galaxies where an active supermassive black hole is pulling in matter from its surroundings at very intense rates, located at increasingly larger distances from us. Image credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
According to the leading scenario, our Universe contains only a few percent of ordinary matter. One quarter of the cosmos is made of the elusive dark matter, which we can feel gravitationally but not observe, and the rest consists of the even more mysterious dark energy that is driving the current acceleration of the Universe’s expansion.
This model is based on a multitude of data collected over the last couple of decades, from the cosmic microwave background, or CMB – the first light in the history of the cosmos, released only 380,000 years after the Big Bang and observed in unprecedented detail by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck mission – to more ‘local’ observations. The latter include supernova explosions, galaxy clusters and the gravitational distortion imprinted by dark matter on distant galaxies, and can be used to trace cosmic expansion in recent epochs of cosmic history – across the past nine billion years.
A new study, led by Guido Risaliti of ...

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