Gravitational Waves Could Solve Hubble Constant Conundrum

An artist’s depiction of two neutron stars merging and releasing gravitational waves. (Image: © R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL)
Analyzing ripples in the fabric of space and time created by pairs of dead stars may soon solve a cosmic mystery surrounding how quickly the universe is expanding — if scientists are lucky.

By Charles Q. Choi |

That’s the verdict of a new study, which may also shed light on the ultimate fate of the universe, the researchers who worked on it have said.

The cosmos has continued expanding since its birth about 13.8 billion years ago. By measuring the present rate of the universe’s expansion, known as the Hubble constant, scientists can deduce the age of the cosmos and details of its current state. They can even use the number to try to learn the fate of the universe, such as whether it will expand forever, collapse upon itself or rip apart completely.

Related: In Images: The Amazing Discovery of a Neutron-Star Crash, Gravitational Waves & More

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