Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Throwing light on the dark side of the Universe

21.10.2008
Although we may believe humans know a lot about the Universe, there are still a lot of phenomena to be explained. A team of cosmologists from the University of the Basque Country are searching for the model that best explains the evolution of the Universe.

We usually have an image of scientists who study the Universe doing so peering through a telescope. And, effectively, this is what astrophysicists do: gather data about the observable phenomena of the Universe.

However, in order to interpret this data, i.e. to explain the majority of the phenomena occurring in the Universe, complicated calculations with a computer are required and which have to be based on appropriate mathematical models. This is what the Gravitation and Cosmology research team at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is involved in: analysing models capable of explaining the evolution of the Universe.

Supernovas, witnesses to acceleration

One of the phenomena that standard models of physics have not yet been able to explain is that of the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Although Einstein proposed a static model to describe the Cosmos, today it is well known, thanks to supernovas amongst other things, that it is, in fact, expanding. Supernovas are very brilliant stellar explosions that, precisely due to this, provide useful data for exploring very distant regions of the Universe. By measuring the quantity of light that gets to us from a supernova, we can calculate its distance from us, and its colour indicates the speed at which it is distancing itself from us – the more reddish it is, the faster it is travelling. In other words, comparing two supernovas, the one that is distancing itself more slowly from us is a more bluish colour. According to observations by astrophysiscists, besides supernovas distancing themselves from us, they are doing so more and more rapidly, i.e. distancing themselves at an accelerated velocity, just like the rest of the material of the Universe.

Looking for dark energy

The energy known to exist in the Universe, however, is not sufficient to cause such acceleration. Thus, the theory most widely accepted within the scientific community is that there exists a ‘dark energy’, i.e. an energy that we cannot detect except by the gravitational force that it produces. In fact, it is believed that 73% of the energy of the Universe is dark. The dark energy debate is not just any theory: its existence has not been proved but, without it, standard models of physics would not be able to explain many of the phenomena occurring in the Universe.

So, what is dark energy exactly? What are its characteristics and have these properties always been the same or have they changed over time? These are questions, amongst others, that researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology at the UPV/EHU, under the direction of Dr. Alexander Feinstein, are seeking to answer.

The unique characteristic of dark energy known to us is that it possesses repulsive gravitational force. That is, unlike the gravity we know on Earth, this force tends to distance stars, galaxies and the rest of the structures of the Universe from each other. This would explain why the expansion of the Universe is not constant, but accelerated. Nevertheless, this phenomenon can only be detected when achieving observationally enormous, almost unimaginable distances. This is why it is so difficult to understand the nature of dark energy.

The theory of phantom energy

To what point can the Universe expand? If this repulsive force is ever more intense, might it be infinite? This is one of the problems that the UPV/EHU researchers are focusing on. Such powerful dark energy is known as phantom energy, with which the Universe is able to expand to such an extent that the structures we know today would disappear.

This research group considers that the phantom energy model may be the most suitable to explain the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Amongst other things, the team has come to this conclusion after analysing the distribution of galaxies and the background microwave radiation which has inundated all of the Cosmos since shortly after the Big Bang. These waves travel in every direction and enable the exploration of what occurred at tremendously remote instants in time, moments close to the start of it all.

Lucía Álvarez | alfa
Further information:
http://www.elhuyar.com
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=1906&hizk=I

Further reports about: Cosmos Supernovas Telescope Universe brilliant stellar explosions dark energy

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core
20.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Photonische Technologien e. V.

nachricht New material for splitting water
19.06.2018 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>