For the first time, supermassive black holes were used to measure the growth of the universe.
In a new study published for Astronomy of Nature, astronomers have discovered that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought.
This discovery may mean that a whole new process is needed to understand the universe.
In this new study, scientists used black holes in distant galaxies as landmarks so they could measure how fast growth was occurring. Because they emit radiation, they are among the brightest points in the universe.
Using data from 1,600 supermassive black holes, astronomers were able to register the expanding universe, and the black holes moving away from each other, allowing them to register the rate of expansion.
Their results suggest that the expansion of the universe is different from what we thought we knew before.
Dr. Lusso says that one explanation for this change may be dark energy – theoretical energy that can act in opposition to gravity, and is responsible for most of the energy in the universe.
"We may need to explore new forms of physics – for example, rethinking the potential properties of dark energy," she told The Independent.
The rate of expansion of the universe proved difficult to define. Although it has long been understood that the universe is expanding since the Big Bang, the speed with which this occurs seems to vary depending on how it is measured, reports The Independent.