News of the WeekAstrophysics

Has a Cosmic Standard Candle Flickered?

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Science  02 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5424, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5424.19a

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A team of astronomers says it has found slight, previously unnoticed variations among the exploding stars called type Ia supernovae, which astronomers use as cosmic "standard candles." Such variability could, in theory, call into question the measurements based on the explosions--among them the dramatic finding that the expansion rate of the universe is speeding up over time.