Astronomers Compile the Largest Catalogue of 56,000 Galaxy Distances for Cosmicflows-4

Kutl Ahmedia

Cosmicflows-4 is the greatest compilation of high-precision galaxy distances ever compiled by astronomers. Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the fundamental building blocks of the cosmos, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. As a result of the expansion of the universe that began with the Big Bang, galaxies beyond our immediate neighborhood are accelerating away, with greater velocity the further they are from us. The size of the universe and the amount of time that has passed since its inception are determined using galaxy distance measurements and information about their velocity away from us.

Since galaxies were found as distinct from the Milky Way a century ago, astronomers have attempted to determine their distances, according to Brent Tully, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. We can now measure the distances between galaxies, the expansion rate of the universe, and the age of the universe with an accuracy of a few percentage points by combining our more precise and numerous technologies.

From the recently released findings, the researchers derived the Hubble Constant, or H0, which is the expansion rate of the cosmos. The team's research yields a value of H0=75 kilometers per second per megaparsec or Mpc (1 megaparsec = 3.26 million light years), with a 1.5 percent statistical margin of error.

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There are several methods for measuring galactic distances. Typically, individual researchers concentrate on a single method. Tully and Kourkchi's Cosmicflows program includes their own original material from two approaches, in addition to information from numerous earlier research. Intercomparisons should protect against a big systematic error because Cosmicflows-4 comprises distances calculated from a variety of different, separate distance estimators.

Astronomers have constructed a framework indicating that the universe is a little over 13 billion years old; nevertheless, a significant problem has arisen over the specifics.

The standard model of cosmology predicts H0=67,5 km/s/Mpc, with a 1 km/s/Mpc margin of error, based on the physics of the evolution of the universe. The gap between the measured and projected values for the Hubble Constant is 7,500 km/s/Mpc, which is substantially larger than statistical uncertainty would imply. Either there is a fundamental flaw in our understanding of the physics of the universe, or the measurements of galaxy distances contain a hidden systematic inaccuracy.

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In addition to studying the expansion of the cosmos as a whole, Cosmicflows-4 is also being used to examine how individual galaxies move. Deviations from this smooth expansion are caused by the gravitational forces of matter clusters on scales ranging from the Earth and the Sun to a half billion light-years across. On greater scales, the enigmatic dark matter is the main component. With knowledge of the motions of galaxies in reaction to the material around them, we can recreate the orbits that galaxies have followed since their formation, which gives us a clearer picture of how the enormous, dark-matter-dominated structures of the universe have grown over eons of time.


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