Quantcast

Universe Might Be 2 Billion Years Younger: Study

Science

The universe is expanding much quicker than previously thought, according to researchers in Germany, leading scientists to suggest it may be more than 2 billion years younger than past estimates.


Its age may have to be trimmed to less than 12 billion years, rather than prior projections of 13.8 billion.

Astrophysicists approximate the age of the universe by using the movement of stars to calculate how fast it is expanding. If the universe is expanding faster than previously thought, that means it got to its current size quicker and therefore must be younger.

"We have large uncertainty for how the stars are moving in the galaxy," said Inh Jee of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany and lead author of the study published Thursday in the journal Science.

Past estimates on the universe's age were based on a Hubble Constant, or expansion rate, of 70. Jee's team of researchers, however, came up with 82.4, which would put the age of the universe at around 11.4 billion years.

Large Margin of Error

However, Jee only used two gravitational lenses for the research, which were all that were available, meaning her margin of error is so large that it's possible the universe could be older than calculated, not younger.

The limitations has some experts questioning the findings.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb told The Associated Press it was an interesting and unique way to work out the universe's expansion speed, but more information was necessary to add weight to the evidence.

"It is difficult to be certain of your conclusions if you use a ruler that you don't fully understand," Loeb said.

Adam Riess, who won a 2011 Nobel Prize for research on the age and expansion rate of the universe, as well as the discovery of "dark energy," told the AFP news agency that Thursday's study lacked accuracy.

"I don't think this adds much to the present state of affairs. Still, it's nice to see people look for alternative methods," he said.



Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A. Battenburg / Technical University of Munich

By Sarah Kennedy

Algae in a pond may look flimsy. But scientists are using algae to develop industrial-strength material that's as hard as steel but only a fraction of the weight.



Read More Show Less
Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad. white and red sauerkraut in ceramic plates over grey spotted background. Natasha Breen / REDA&CO / Universal Images Group / Getty Image

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Even if you've never taken probiotics, you've probably heard of them.

These supplements provide numerous benefits because they contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which support the healthy bacteria in your gut (1, 2, 3, 4).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

Singapore will become the first country in the world to place a ban on advertisements for carbonated drinks and juices with high sugar contents, its health ministry announced last week. The law is intended to curb sugar consumption since the country has some of the world's highest diabetes rates per capita, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less

A typical adult takes around 20,000 breaths per day. If you live in a megacity like Beijing, with many of those lungfuls you're likely to inhale a noxious mixture of chemicals and pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Fred Stone holds his brown swiss cow Lida Rose at his Arundel dairy farm on March 18 after a press conference where he spoke about PFAS chemical contamination in his fields. Gregory Rec / Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

By Susan Cosier

First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Protesters attend the 32nd annual Fur-Free Friday demonstration on Nov. 23, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Ella DeGea / Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
Watchfield Solar Park in England. RTPeat / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Simon Evans

During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.

Read More Show Less
A demonstrator waves an Ecuadorian flag during protests against the end of subsidies to gasoline and diesel on Oct. 9 in Quito, Ecuador. Jorge Ivan Castaneira Jaramillo / Getty Images

The night before Indigenous Peoples' Day, an Indigenous-led movement in Ecuador won a major victory.

Read More Show Less