Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy NGC 4603. It is the most distant galaxy with Cepheids used to measure the Hubble Constant.
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Scientists Find the True Hubble Constant!
News story originally written on May 26, 1999
After eight long years, the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project Team finally revealed what they believe is the real Hubble Constant. The Hubble Constant is the speed which the Universe is expanding at. For over 70 years, scientists have argued over the exact number.
Astronomers are able to use the constant to "work backwards", in order to find the age of the Universe. Now that the Hubble team has found Hubble's Constant to be 70 kilometers per second per megaparsec, they have determined the age of the Universe to be 12 billion years old. At one time, scientists differed on the value of the constant by a factor of 2. Now, the constant has been measured with an error of only 10 percent.
The Hubble team used a certain type of star called a Cepheid variable star. A Cepheid is a special pulsating star that can be used to make precise distance measurements. Over 800 Cepheids were found during the 10 year project.
Finding the Hubble Constant was one of three original goals set by astronomers when the telescope was first launched in 1990. The telescope is named after Edwin Hubble, the first to believe the Universe is expanding.
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