dark energy


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Related to dark energy: dark matter, black hole

dark energy,

repulsive force that opposes the self-attraction of matter (see gravitationgravitation,
the attractive force existing between any two particles of matter. The Law of Universal Gravitation

Since the gravitational force is experienced by all matter in the universe, from the largest galaxies down to the smallest particles, it is often called
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) and causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate. The search for dark energy was triggered by the discovery (1998) in images from the Hubble Space TelescopeHubble Space Telescope
(HST), the first large optical orbiting observatory. Built from 1978 to 1990 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the HST (named for astronomer E. P. Hubble) was expected to provide the clearest view yet obtained of the universe from a position some 350 mi (560 km)
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 of a distant supernova that implied an accelerating, expanding universe, which in turn required a new cosmological model (see cosmologycosmology,
area of science that aims at a comprehensive theory of the structure and evolution of the entire physical universe. Modern Cosmological Theories
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). Although dark energy is predicted in particle physics, it has never been directly observed. It is generally agreed, however, that dark energy dominates the universe, which is projected to have a composition of about 68% dark energy, 27% dark matterdark matter,
material that is believed to make up nearly 27% of the mass of the universe but is not readily visible because it neither emits nor reflects electromagnetic radiation, such as light or radio signals.
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, and 5% normal visible matter such as stars. By 2006, astronomers using the space telescope to examine more distant supernovas had found evidence of the effects of dark energy dating to 9 billion years ago. Observations with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, published in 2008, indicate that dark energy is also retarding the growth of distant galaxy clusters.

The concept of dark energy was first proposed, and then discarded, by Albert Einstein early in the 20th cent. His theory of general relativityrelativity,
physical theory, introduced by Albert Einstein, that discards the concept of absolute motion and instead treats only relative motion between two systems or frames of reference.
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 implied that the pull of gravity would make the universe collapse, but, like many scientists of his time, he assumed the universe to be static and unchanging. To make his equations fit these assumptions, Einstein added a "cosmological constant" whose effect was repulsive. When American astronomer Edwin HubbleHubble, Edwin Powell,
1889–1953, American astronomer, b. Marshfield, Mo. He did research (1914–17) at Yerkes Observatory, and joined (1919) the staff of Mt. Wilson Observatory, Pasadena, Calif., of which he became director. Building on V. M.
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 discovered that the universe was expanding, it was assumed that the universe must be slowing down because of gravity and might even come to a halt. This led Einstein to remove the cosmological constant from his equations and to say that it had been the biggest blunder of his career.

dark energy

The energy associated with the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. About three-quarters of the energy of the Universe exists in the form of dark energy. The existence of dark energy can be taken into account using a nonzero value for the cosmological constant but the nature of this energy is not understood at the present time.
References in periodicals archive ?
Type Ia Supernova Discoveries atZ > 1 from the Hubble Space Telescope Evidence for Past Deceleration and Constraints on Dark Energy Evolution.
Eric Huff, an SDSS member from Berkeley Lab and the University of California at Berkeley, will present a poster describing the full cosmic shear measurement, including the new constraints on dark energy on January 12 at the AAS conference.
Caption: Using supernova measurements from the Pan-STARRS PS1 telescope on Maul, researchers calculated a cosmological parameter related to dark energy.
He said that the duo demonstrated that the simplest small mixing, related to the ratios of the scale at which electroweak physics operates, and a possible Grand Unified Scale, produces a possible contribution to the vacuum energy today of precisely the correct order of magnitude to account for the observed dark energy.
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About 72 percent of the total mass plus energy content of the universe is dark energy; nearly all of the remaining 28 percent is matter of some form, either ordinary atomic matter or the mysterious dark matter, which is distinct from dark energy.
The findings offer new support for the favored theory of how dark energy works - as a constant force, uniformly affecting the universe and propelling its runaway expansion.
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He explained that the early dark energy is a class of explanations for the origin of cosmic acceleration that arises in some high energy physics models.