Does it seem like things keep moving faster and faster?

Posted by
DA Morgan on Jul 17, 2002 at 11:42

They are ....

The most distant object ever to be studied confirms that the Universe's expansion is accelerating. But its iron-rich nature poses new questions for astronomers.

This means it must be at least 1.5 billion years old, in order for enough time to have passed for several generations of iron-spewing supernovae explosions to pollute the area.

Adding the minimum age of the quasar to the time its X-rays took to reach us - given by their redshift - gives the age of the universe as at least 15 billion years old.

Contrary to recent reports, this is not older than most astronomers already believe, says Schartel's colleague Stefanie Komossa, in work published on Wednesday.

Instead, the calculation provides independent confirmation that the Universe is expanding ever faster - something already suggested by the apparent dimness of distant supernovae. If the Universe's expansion was not accelerating, it would have taken only 10 billion years to reach its present size. But why the quasar contains so much more iron than our Sun remains a mystery. Iron is the most stable element, meaning that although it is easily made in supernova explosions, it is almost impossible to destroy.

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