The Hubble Constant

Update available:

Neal Jackson

Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics
University of Manchester
Turing Building
Manchester M13 9PL, U.K.

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I review the current state of determinations of the Hubble constant, which gives the length scale of the Universe by relating the expansion velocity of objects to their distance. In the last 20 years, much progress has been made and estimates now range between 60 and 75 km s–1 Mpc–1, with most now between 70 and 75 km s–1 Mpc–1, a huge improvement over the factor-of-2 uncertainty which used to prevail. Further improvements which gave a generally agreed margin of error of a few percent rather than the current 10% would be vital input to much other interesting cosmology. There are several programmes which are likely to lead us to this point in the next 10 years.