Accelerating Universe? Not So Fast
A UA-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before. The findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.
Swift’s UVOT captured the new supernova (circled) in three exposures taken on Jan. 22, 2014. Mid-ultraviolet light is shown in blue, near-UV light in green and visible light in red. Thick dust in M82 scatters much of the highest-energy light, which is why the supernova appears yellowish here. The image is 17 arcminutes across, or slightly more than half the apparent diameter of a full moon. (Credit: NASA/Swift/P. Brown, TAMU)
Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered. The results, reported in two papers published in the Astrophysical Journal, have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.
Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.