For the last few years evidence that we are living on a very "weird" universe has been growing: the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and one theory proposed to account for this acceleration is what has been termed "dark energy."
In order to find out what this mysterious energy really is, astronomers need to compare astrophysical observations that are at first sight completely unrelated. At a session on dark energy at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science today, University of Pennsylvania astrophysicist Licia Verde outlines how the hunt for dark energy will draw on the avalanche of recent and forthcoming data on surveys of objects throughout the universe.
"We were just coming to grips with ’dark matter’ when, out of the blue, observations tells us that something is propelling the universe apart and that this something comprises about 73 percent of existence," said Verde, an assistant professor in Penn’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. "Unlike dark matter, which, as mysterious as it may be, is still matter, dark energy is ’dark’ only because astronomers simply do not know what it is. At the heart of the dilemma, however, hides the answer to just what all this universe stuff is made from anyway."
Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
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