Considerable progress has been made in determining the Hubble constant over the past two decades. We discuss the cosmological context and importance of an accurate measurement of the Hubble constant, focusing on six high-precision distance-determination methods: Cepheids, tip of the red giant branch, maser galaxies, surface brightness fluctuations, the Tully-Fisher relation, and Type Ia supernovae. We discuss in detail known systematic errors in the measurement of galaxy distances and how to minimize them. Our best current estimate of the Hubble constant is 73±2 (random) ± 4 (systematic) km s-1 Mpc-1. The importance of improved accuracy in the Hubble constant will increase over the next decade with new missions and experiments designed to increase the precision in other cosmological parameters. We outline the steps that will be required to deliver a value of the Hubble constant to 2% systematic uncertainty and discuss the constraints on other cosmological parameters that will then be possible with such accuracy.
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- September 2010
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- To be published in Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 48, 2010, consisting of 79 pages, 13 figures, 2 tables