Although most people have heard about the dark energy that permeates space, few know exactly what it is. It has eluded explanation from early observations and even the best science fiction writers have never been able to come up with an explanation for it. There are many theories, but there is one that stands out.
Dark Energy makes up 72% of our total planetary mass-energy density.
A very tiny fraction is due to protons or solid baryonic matter, while the rest is dark energy created by the interaction of quarks in elementary particle physics. Since everything is made up of atoms, the energy needed to make that happen is provided by the collective vibrations of those atoms. The dark energy that permeates space is the result of a change in the rate of decay of these particles as we move further apart.
In recent years, scientists have been trying to better understand the phenomenon and what it means for our universe.
Part of their work involves determining the properties of quarks and their relative amounts in various very large-scale structures. Using data from the LISA (Langley Interferometer Space Telescope) mission and other ground-based observatories, including the orbiting Chandra telescope, cosmologists have developed a better understanding of dark energy. While it’s still not a perfect picture, the data they’ve gathered will help to shed light on this mystery that has mystified man for millions of years.
Cosmologists have been looking for evidence that would show that our space-based gravity is distorted by an unseen force.
That would mean that the force that is pulling down objects isn’t really gravity, but something else. For decades, scientists have speculated that it might be the result of dark energy. If the gravity field is distorted, it can explain why celestial objects such as the planets and stars move faster than the speed of light in our universe. A group of scientists recently completed a research project known as the Dark Energy Survey to try to solve the problem.
If the dark energy is the result of distorting gravity, what can cause that distortion?
Astronomy experts have noticed that when gas clouds reach a certain density, they explode in burst-like eruptions known as supernovae. The explosions seem to be caused by something pushing on the matter inside the cloud. Since matter is a vacuum, it would follow that something is pulling on the cloud, or perhaps the vacuum is distorted by some unknown force. This can be likened to a tire rolling downhill, when a pothole is forming up at the bottom of it. It is only a matter of time before the tire flips over, causing the car to fly over the rim.
One of the problems that scientists have with this kind of explanation is that they don’t have a way to test this idea.
Astronomy is science, and there are many ways to test theories, such as cosmic ray experiments, which have been done for decades. Scientists can use the Very Large Telescope to look for dark energy and other irregularities in the universe, thus working on geology, astronomy, and sociology. All of this is in addition to using the particle physics methods used to study the behavior of very heavy objects like black holes.
Many theorists argue that this dark energy is not really a new idea.
Albert Einstein, who was famous for his theory of relativity, made some comments about a hidden force that makes the universe expand. Some of his ideas are still not entirely understood by modern physics. There is also a concept called the anti Gravitation force, also put forward by Einstein, which suggests that there might be an unseen force that is pulling on stars, which is analogous to the effect that Einstein described with his theory of relativity. Using satellites to look for such anomalies around the Earth has resulted in some interesting results, including the discovery of a possible planet in the so-called “B belt”.
Physicists have some interesting theories surrounding the behavior of dark energy, but none have been proven thus far. One thing that is certain though, is that a lot more research needs to be done on this subject, to determine its exact nature and the role it plays in the overall scheme of things. The answers, perhaps, will be far closer than we think.