Since the Big Bang, the universe has been expanding at a measurable rate. “In the 1970s, scientists came close to the correct value,” Dr. Lucas Macri said, “but they could not reliably account for the expansion rate’s margin of error.”
Calculating the expansion rate, or Hubble constant, is about much more than satisfying a cosmological curiosity. Scientists are scrambling to understand dark energy and dark matter—two invisible components that make up 95% of our universe.
These properties must exist to account for the universe’s rapidly accelerating expansion rate, but that is about all of which the scientific community is sure. Thus, measuring the constant accurately is pivotal for progress.
In December 2021, an international research team including Macri and astronomy Ph.D. graduates Samantha Hoffmann ’13 and Wenlong Yuan ’16 announced the then-most-accurate Hubble constant measurement with a total uncertainty of only 1.4%.
With help from new tools like the James Webb Space Telescope, he and his peers hope to get a few steps closer to understanding dark energy, dark matter and the true nature of everything.
Learn how you can support Aggie astronomers in their exploratory research by contacting Ian Wilson '13, assistant director of development, at the bottom of this page.
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