Skip to Content

The Hubble Space Telescope and the Hubble Constant. How Old is the Universe?

Professor Jeremy Mould

Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS), SUT

3:30 pm Friday, 8 April 2011, EN101 Lecture Theatre (EN Building), Hawthorn.

Two NASA telescopes have answered this question to surprising accuracy. The first of these, the Hubble Space Telescope, started life as "a billion dollar technoturkey", but has turned into a popular global facility and a household word. For many years the Hubble Constant was one of the less well known parameters of astrophysics and cosmology. What changed this situation was the order of magnitude increase in resolution of galaxies provided by the Hubble. In a key project for HST our team was able to discover hundreds of Cepheids in some 25 nearby galaxies and measure their distances. We were then able to calibrate scaling relations for galaxies. These relations converged on a value of the Hubble Constant of 71 +/- 6 km/sec/Mpc and an age of a flat Universe of 13 +/- 1 billion years. These results have been confirmed recently in a general cosmological solution by NASA's WMAP microwave background satellite.

Back to 2011 programme