Astronomy

Dark Energy is all around us



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Dark energy is a universal phenomena that has yet to be explainable. Dark energy is a term that came about quite by accident, when in the 1990’s astronomers decided to figure out how fast the universe was expanding. The belief was that gravitational forces had slowed down the expansion of the universe. We know that gravity pulls things closer together, and the closer the objects are, the more the gravitational forces are. So, in theory, one could come to the conclusion that gravitational forces pulling our universe toward us would slow down the expansion of the universe. As a means of testing this hypothesis, they utilized supernovae as a starting point, and after plotting them over a set period of time, they then had the ability to measure how fast they were moving away from us. After analysis of the findings, they found that the expansion of the universe has actually sped up rather than slowing down as conventional wisdom believed. Since the end of the last century, scientists have been analyzing the data over and over to try and understand or be able to have a rational explanation for these actions that are contrary to our beliefs of matter and energy.

Dark energy, which is comprised of all the space around us, is estimated to account for almost 75 percent of our universe. That number is astounding when one considers that the visible matter that we see all around us only accounts for less than 5 percent of the universe, with the remaining 25 percent being dark matter. So almost three quarters of our universe is still unknown and we only have hypothesis, or educated guesses, to explain it.

There are many theories as to why our universe is contradicting traditional gravitational properties. One such theory considers Albert Einstein’s idea that the mere vacuum of space creates energy and that the energy counter acts gravity, and speeds up acceleration. Einstein called this idea cosmological constant and later said it was his biggest mistake. Many scientists today are reconsidering if indeed Einstein made a mistake or actually made a huge breakthrough.

After analysis of all the data our scientists have to review, dark energy is still a mysterious unknown. While we can calculate how much dark energy there is, we still really know very little more about it. Perhaps Einstein was onto something, or then, perhaps his entire theory of relativity is flawed. As of now, scientist have agreed that the expansion of our universe is accelerating, however, there are only theories and hypothesis to explain this phenomena. We can be assured that we, as a people, have much more discovery to make and only time will tell if we ever completely understand our universe.

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