Seven Problems with the Claims Related to the Hubble Tension in arXiv:1810.02595

Journal Article

Shanks et al. (2018) arXiv:1810.02595 make two claims that they argue bring the local measurement and early Universe prediction of H0 into agreement: A) they claim that Gaia DR2 parallax measurements show the geometric calibration of the Cepheid distance scale used to measure H0 to be grossly in error and B) that we live near the middle of an enormous void, further biasing the local measurement of the Hubble constant. We show that the first claim is caused by five erroneous uses of the data: in decreasing order of importance: 1) the use of a distance indicator, main sequence fitting of cluster stars, which is unrelated to the calibration of Cepheids and therefore has no bearing on current measurements of H0; 2) the use of Gaia data for Cepheids that fully saturate the detector, producing unreliable parallaxes; 3) the use of a fixed parallax offset which is known to depend on source magnitude and color but which is derived for sources with extremely different colors and magnitudes; 4) ignoring the uncertainty in this offset; and 5) ignoring the other geometric sources of Cepheid calibration, the distance of the LMC from detached eclipsing binaries and the masers in NGC 4258, which are independent of Milky Way parallaxes. Just resolving the first two of these issues by not using unrelated or saturated data leads to no inconsistency between Gaia parallaxes and the current Cepheid distance scale. The second claim can be refuted 6) because of the increase in chi-squared that the alleged void would entail in SN measurements in the Hubble flow, and 7) because it would represent a 6 sigma fluctuation of cosmic variance between the local and globally measured expansion, requiring us to live in an exceedingly special location.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Riess, AG; Casertano, S; Kenworthy, D; Scolnic, D; Macri, L

Published Date

  • October 8, 2018