632 research outputs found

    The Ups and Downs of the Hubble Constant

    Full text link
    A brief history of the determination of the Hubble constant H_0 is given. Early attempts following Lemaitre (1927) gave much too high values due to errors of the magnitude scale, Malmquist bias and calibration problems. By 1962 most authors agreed that 75< H_0 <130. After 1975 a dichotomy arose with values near 100 and others around 55. The former came from apparent-magnitude-limited samples and were affected by Malmquist bias. New distance indicators were introduced; they were sometimes claimed to yield high values of H_0, but the most recent data lead to H_0 in the 60's, yet with remaining difficulties as to the zero-point of the respective distance indicators. SNe Ia with their large range and very small luminosity dispersion (avoiding Malmquist bias) offer a unique opportunity to determine the large-scale value of H_0. Their maximum luminosity can be well calibrated from 10 SNe Ia in local parent galaxies whose Cepheids have been observed with HST. An unforeseen difficulty - affecting all Cepheid distances - is that their P-L relation varies from galaxy to galaxy, presumably in function of metallicity. A proposed solution is summarized here. The conclusion is that H_0 = 63.2 +/- 1.3 (random) +/- 5.3 (systematic) on all scales. The expansion age becomes then (with Omega_m=0.3, Omega_Lambda=0.7) 15.1 Gyr.Comment: 30 pages, 12 figures, 2 tables. 79th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft 2005, Karl-Schwarzschild-Lecture, to appear in Reviews in Modern Astronomy, 19,
    • …