Astrophysics News: Nailing Down the Cosmological Constant with Gravity Lensed Supernovas?

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 03 March 2018


Astrophysics News
Nailing Down the Cosmological Constant

Gravity Lensed Supernovas?

Can strongly lensed type 1a supernovae resolve cosmology's biggest controversy?
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, March 1, 2018.


"...the universe is expanding. Another bombshell came in 1998 when two teams of astronomers proved that cosmic expansion is actually speeding up due to a mysterious property of space called dark energy."

"this discovery provided the first evidence of what is now the reigning model of the universe: “Lambda-CDM,” which says that the cosmos is approximately 70 percent dark energy, 25 percent dark matter and 5 percent “normal” matter (everything we’ve ever observed)."


In 2016, "...researchers found that the universe was expanding a little faster than Lambda-CDM and the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), relic radiation from the Big Bang, predicted."

"...could this discrepancy be a systematic error, or possibly new physics?"

"Type Ia supernovae have been exceptional distance markers because they are extraordinarily bright and similar in brightness no matter where they sit in the cosmos."

Gravity-Lensed Supernova
"... last year an international team of researchers found an even more reliable distance marker – the first-ever strongly lensed Type Ia supernova."

"These events occur when the gravitational field of a massive object – like a galaxy – bends and refocuses passing light from a Type Ia event behind it."

These divergent times allow precise measurements of the cosmological rate of expansion.

Not Many Gravity-Lensed Supernova
“Strongly lensed supernovae are much rarer than conventional supernovae – they’re one in 50,000."

"...only two strongly lensed supernovae have been discovered to date..."

The Search Will Be On

"When LSST begins full survey operations in 2023, it will be able to scan the entire sky in only three nights from its perch on the Cerro Pachón ridge in north-central Chile. Over its 10-year mission, LSST is expected to deliver over 200 petabytes of data."

" to find about 1,000 of these strongly lensed Type Ia supernovae in data collected by the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) – about 20 times more than previous expectations."

“It can take years to get a time delay measurement with quasars, but this work shows we can do it for supernovae in months. One thousand lensed supernovae will let us really nail down the cosmology."



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