Dark Energy

Dark Energy

One of the most important and surprising scientific discoveries of the twentieth century is that the expansion of space is not slowing down, but speeding up—contrary to what we expect the gravitational pull of all the matter in the Universe to do. The driver of this accelerating expansion has been labeled "dark energy," but there is much about the phenomenon that researchers don’t understand. We now know that dark energy comprises the bulk of the energy density of the Universe, but its existence poses major challenges to our basic understanding of fundamental forces at work in the cosmos. On the other hand, the incorporation of dark energy into the prevailing theory of cosmology has been enormously successful. For example, in earlier cosmological models, the Universe appeared to be younger than its oldest stars. When dark energy is included in the model, that problem goes away.

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