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HubbleSite Hubble Space Telescope on Track for Measuring the Expansion Rate of the Universe

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Space Telescope Science

Using the Hubble telescope, two international teams of astronomers are reporting major progress in converging on an accurate measurement of the universe's rate of expansion - a value that has been debated for over half a century.

These new results yield ranges for the age of the universe from 9-12 billion years and 11-14 billion years, respectively. The black and white photograph from a ground-based telescope shows the entire galaxy. The color image from the Hubble telescope shows a region in NGC 1365, a barred spiral galaxy located in a cluster of galaxies called Fornax. A barred spiral galaxy is characterized by a "bar" of stars, dust, and gas across its center. Astronomers used Cepheid variable stars in Fornax to estimate the cluster's distance from Earth, about 60 million light-years. Cepheids are bright, young stars that are used as milepost markers to calculate distances to nearby galaxies. Galaxy distances are important in calculating the universe's expansion rate and age.

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