The first results obtained from the SNLS (Supernova Legacy Survey) international collaboration – in which CEA-Dapnia and CNRS (IN2P3 and INSU) are participants – are showing that the mysterious “dark energy” assumed to be responsible for the acceleration in the Universe’s expansion could be Einstein’s cosmological constant. The results were published on Monday 21 November in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
A few years ago, astrophysicists thought that the Universe’s expansion, discovered by Edwin Hubble during the 1920s, was slowing down under the effect of gravitation . But in 1998, researchers observed that distant supernovae seemed less bright than would be expected in a Universe whose expansion was decelerating. In fact, far from decelerating, the Universe’s expansion is accelerating from the effect of a mysterious energy known as “dark energy”.
The Universe is now thought to consist of around one quarter matter and three quarters dark energy, which acts on the Universe’s expansion like a repulsive force. Matter and dark energy behave differently with respect to the Universe’s expansion: matter becomes diluted; dark energy does not, or does so only a little.
Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce | alfa
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