Scientists have long known that the universe is expanding, but only recently have they discovered what force is driving this expansion to accelerate at an ever-faster rate. This mysterious force has been named dark energy, and scientists are still working to understand it fully. What they do know, however, is that dark energy accounts for approximately 70% of the total mass/energy in the universe and that it acts as a negative pressure on space-time, causing the fabric of the universe to stretch farther and farther apart over time.
What is this mysterious dark energy?
Scientists don’t know, but they do know that it has helped to fuel the universe’s exponential expansion in recent years. That’s a fact: Our Universe is currently expanding at an ever-increasing rate and there’s evidence that a mysterious force called dark energy is responsible for it. In fact, observations of distant galaxies suggest that 70% of all matter and energy in our Universe cannot be accounted for by things we already know about—dark energy could very well be responsible for making up that missing 30%.
How did scientists discover this mystery energy?
Scientists have been on a quest to understand dark energy since they discovered its existence in 1998. Although they still don’t understand it, they have figured out some of its properties and determined that it is responsible for what we perceive as universal expansion. This mystery force is thought to be responsible for about 70 percent of all energy in our universe, yet scientists still can’t say with certainty what it actually is. It appears to exist throughout space, permeating even light and making our universe go faster every day.
How much do we know about dark energy so far?
Scientists have only begun to delve into dark energy. It is a mysterious force that is believed to be responsible for accelerating our universe’s expansion, and it’s said to be about 73 percent of our universe—the total opposite of dark matter. This energy has been theorized for decades, but researchers now have tools at their disposal that may finally allow them to detect it in real life. The first such tool is Euclid, a space telescope created by scientists with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA). Its main job will be mapping billions of galaxies and watching how they move over time; it will start looking at those distant objects later in 2016.
What are some possible explanations for dark energy?
Some theories suggest that dark energy is simply an inherent property of space and time. In other words, empty space itself has an energy content (because of quantum effects) and can drive accelerated expansion. This theory predicts that dark energy will have certain properties, such as not clumping together in any particular direction or place. If dark energy is indeed intrinsic to space itself, then it might not be entirely bad news—in fact, if cosmologists understand its properties well enough they may be able to use it to calculate a fairly accurate estimate for when our universe will end. However, even so, because dark energy would essentially cause our universe to expand faster and faster forever there would probably be no way for us to survive even far into the future.
Where did dark energy come from, and where will it take us in the future?
Scientists believe that dark energy was around before our universe even began. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, when everything in our universe began to shrink back in on itself as it collapsed, everything had more gravity than energy. That caused a lot of matter and space to collapse at a faster rate. As it shrank, there was less gravity because there were fewer objects in between objects; they were closer together. But gravitational potential also decreased because of that. Eventually, all of that negative gravitational potential cancelled out all of the mass, leaving behind only radiation and dark energy – what scientists refer to as dark matter. And now some astronomers believe that dark energy could be causing our universe to expand at an ever-faster rate – something called dark flow.