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The expansion of the universe is getting out of hand. According to recent measurements by a Nobel prizewinning team, space is stretching 9 per cent faster than we think it should be – yanking distant galaxies away from us at a rate that defies easy explanation.

This accelerating expansion of the universe is usually explained by invoking a mysterious substance called dark energy. But either our observations are wrong, or dark energy isn’t enough to explain the situation. Maybe something even stranger is lurking in the cosmos.

“This is really an end-to-end test of our understanding of the universe,” says Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

A paper detailing the conflict, reported on the pre-print server Arxiv in April by Riess and his colleagues, has now been accepted by The Astrophysical Journal. It reveals the disagreement between the two best methods we have of measuring the expansion of the universe.

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