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Astronomers Measure Universe Expansion, Get Hints of 'New Physics'

Astronomers have just made a new measurement of the Hubble constant, the rate at which the universe is expanding, and it doesn't quite line up with a different estimate of the same number. That discrepancy could hint at "new physics" beyond the standard model of cosmology, according to the team, which includes physicists from the University of California, Davis, that made the observation.
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Title: The Hubble Expansion is Isotropic in the Epoch of Dark Energy
Author: Jeremy Darling

The isotropy of the universal Hubble expansion is a fundamental tenet of physical cosmology, but it has not been precisely tested during the current epoch, when dark energy is dominant. Anisotropic expansion will produce a shearing velocity field, causing objects to stream toward directions of faster expansion and away from directions of slower expansion. This work tests the basic cosmological assumption of isotropic expansion and thus the isotropy of dark energy. The simplest anisotropy will manifest as a quadrupolar curl-free proper motion vector field. We derive this theoretical signature using a tri-axial expanding metric with a flat geometry (Bianchi I model), generalizing and correcting previous work. We then employ the best current data, the Titov & Lambert (2013) proper motion catalog of 429 objects, to measure the isotropy of universal expansion. We demonstrate that the Hubble expansion is isotropic to 7% (1 sigma), corresponding to streaming motions of 1 microarcsecond/yr, in the best-constrained directions (-19% and +17% in the least-constrained directions) and does not significantly deviate from isotropy in any direction. The Gaia mission, which is expected to obtain proper motions for 500,000 quasars, will likely constrain the anisotropy below 1%.

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Title: Interesting Evidence for a Low-Level Oscillation Superimposed on the Local Hubble Flow
Authors: Morley B Bell

Historically the velocity scatter seen on local Hubble plots has been attributed to the peculiar velocities of individual galaxies. Although most galaxies also have uncertainties in their distances, when galaxies with accurate distances are used recent studies have found that these supposed peculiar velocities may have preferred, or discrete, values. Here we report the interesting result that when these discrete components are identified and removed from the radial velocities of the SNeIa galaxies studied in the Hubble Key Project, there is evidence for a residual oscillation, or ripple, superimposed on the Hubble flow. This oscillation has a wavelength near 40 Mpc and, because its amplitude is small compared to that of the scatter in velocities, it becomes visible only after the discrete components are removed. This result is interesting because even if this ripple has been produced by a selection effect, the fact that it is only revealed after the discrete velocities are removed implies that the discrete velocities are real. Alternatively, if no selection effect can be identified to explain the ripple, then both the discrete velocities and the ripple together become very difficult to explain by chance and these results could then have interesting cosmological consequences.

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Ed ~ The 'Hubble flow' refers to the distant region of space where the recession velocity is larger than local peculiar velocities



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NASA's Infrared Observatory Measures Expansion of Universe

Unlike NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which views the cosmos in visible light, Spitzer took advantage of long-wavelength infrared light to make its new measurement. It improves by a factor of 3 on a similar, seminal study from the Hubble telescope and brings the uncertainty down to 3 percent, a giant leap in accuracy for cosmological measurements. The newly refined value for the Hubble constant is 74.3 plus or minus 2.1 kilometres per second per megaparsec. A megaparsec is roughly 3 million light-years.
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Hubble Constant
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Title: Carnegie Hubble Program: A Mid-Infrared Calibration of the Hubble Constant
Authors: Wendy L. Freedman, Barry F. Madore, Victoria Scowcroft, Chris Burns, Andy Monson, S. Eric Persson, Mark Seibert, Jane Rigby

Using a mid-infrared calibration of the Cepheid distance scale based on recent observations at 3.6 um with the Spitzer Space Telescope, we have obtained a new, high-accuracy calibration of the Hubble constant. We have established the mid-IR zero point of the Leavitt Law (the Cepheid Period-Luminosity relation) using time-averaged 3.6 um data for ten high-metallicity, Milky Way Cepheids having independently-measured trigonometric parallaxes. We have adopted the slope of the PL relation using time-averaged 3.6 um data for 80 long-period Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) Cepheids falling in the period range 0.8 < log(P) < 1.8. We find a new reddening-corrected distance to the LMC of 18.477 ± 0.033 (systematic) mag. We re-examine the systematic uncertainties in H0, also taking into account new data over the past decade. In combination with the new Spitzer calibration, the systematic uncertainty in H0 over that obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Key Project has decreased by over a factor of three. Applying the Spitzer calibration to the Key Project sample, we find a value of H0 = 74.3 with a systematic uncertainty of ±2.1 (systematic) km/s/Mpc, corresponding to a 2.8% systematic uncertainty in the Hubble constant. This result, in combination with WMAP7 measurements of the cosmic microwave background anisotropies and assuming a flat universe, yields a value of the equation of state for dark energy, w0 = -1.09 ± 0.10. Alternatively, relaxing the constraints on flatness and the numbers of relativistic species, and combining our results with those of WMAP7, Type Ia supernovae and baryon acoustic oscillations yields w0 = -1.08 ± 0.10 and a value of N_eff = 4.13 ± 0.67, mildly consistent with the existence of a fourth neutrino species.

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Was the Real Discovery of the Expanding Universe Lost in Translation?

Writing in the Nov. 10 issue of the journal Nature, Space Telescope Science Institute astrophysicist Mario Livio solves the mystery of why paragraphs disappeared during the 1931 translation of Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaître's remarkable 1927 paper showing that the universe is expanding. For nearly a century, American astronomer Edwin Hubble has held the fame for this landmark discovery, which would recast all of 20th century astronomy. After going through hundreds of pieces of correspondence of the Royal Astronomical Society, as well as minutes of the RAS meetings, and material from the Lemaître Archive, Livio has discovered that Lemaître omitted the passages himself when he translated the paper into English.
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A new way to measure the expansion of the Universe

A PhD student from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth has produced one of the most accurate measurements ever made of how fast the Universe is expanding. 
Florian Beutler, a PhD candidate with ICRAR at the University of Western Australia, has calculated how fast the Universe is growing by measuring the Hubble constant.

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Zeroing in on Hubble's Constant
 In the early part of the 20th Century, Carnegie astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding. The rate of expansion is known as the Hubble constant. Its precise value has been hotly debated for all of the 80 intervening years. The value of the Hubble constant is a key ingredient in determining the age and size of the universe. In 2001, as part of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project, a team of astronomers led by Carnegie's Wendy Freedman determined precision distances to individual far-off galaxies and used them to determine that the universe is expanding at the rate of 72 kilometres per second per megaparsec. While the debate had previously raged over a factor-of-two uncertainty in the Hubble constant, Freedman and her team cut that uncertainty down to just 10%. And now that number is about to be decreased to 3% with the new Carnegie Hubble Program (CHP) using NASA's space-based Spitzer telescope. Freedman, who is director of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution, will lead the effort, which includes Carnegie staff members Barry Madore and Eric Persson, and Carnegie Spitzer Fellow, Jane Rigby.

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Title: Light Dragging, the Origin of Hubble's Constant
Authors: Walter J. Christensen Jr

Recently E. Harrison has argued the Red Shift distance law proposed by Hubble and velocity-distance law developed later on theoretical grounds has no general proof demonstrating the two laws are actually equivalent. It is the purpose of this paper to account for the nebular redshift law of Hubble based on two principles: 1) Spacetime motion and light dragging. 2) An overall spacetime index of refraction based on Hubble's Constant.

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