London: The universe is expanding at exactly the speed Prof Albert Einstein has predicted - driven by "dark energy", says a new study.
For its study, a team of cosmologists from University of Portsmouth and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has examined the period between five and six billion
years ago when the universe was half its present age and made measurements of extraordinary accuracy, within 1.7 per cent.
The findings support Einstein's general theory of relativity which predicts how fast galaxies, separated by large distances, should be moving toward one another and at what rate the structure of the universe should be growing.
The conclusions are consistent with the concordance model of a universe that bloomed from the big bang some 13.7 billion years ago, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
Team member Dr Rita Tojeiro said: "The results are the best measurement of an intergalactic distance ever made, which means cosmologists are closer than ever to understanding why the universe's expansion is accelerating.
"One of the great things about Einstein's general theory of relativity is that it is testable. Our results support the theory and are fully consistent with the notion that constant vacuum energy -- empty space creating a repulsive force – is driving the acceleration of the universe.
"These are profound statements that describe the physics of our universe at the most fundamental level. Critically, the results find no evidence that dark energy is simply an
illusion stemming from our poor understanding of the laws of gravity -- Einstein's theory has passed its most stringent test yet at extra-galactic scales."
First Published: Friday, March 30, 2012, 18:55