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News Release Archive:

News Release 228 of 953

May 7, 2009 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-08

Refined Hubble Constant Narrows Possible Explanations for Dark Energy

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Image: Three Steps to the Hubble Constant

Three Steps to the Hubble ConstantSTScI-PRC2009-08b

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Hubble measurements have simplified the cosmic "distance ladder," which is needed to calculate a more precise value for the universe's expansion rate, called the Hubble constant. At select host galaxies, Cepheid variable stars — known as reliable milepost markers — are cross-calibrated to Type Ia supernovae in the same host galaxy. The new technique reduced the distance ladder to three "rungs": (1) The distance to galaxy NGC 4258 is measured using straightforward geometry and Kepler's laws; (2) Cepheids in six more distant galaxies are used to calibrate the luminosity of Type Ia supernovae; (3) The Hubble constant is measured by observing a brighter milepost marker, Type Ia supernovae, in more distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light-years away, embedded in the expanding universe.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

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