Revealing dark energy's hold on the Universe: What a new collaboration hopes to uncover

Aug 16, 2013

The race is on to solve the mystery of dark energy, the unknown force that is causing the universe to expand faster and faster. It's one of the biggest open questions in cosmology, but now a handful of high-profile projects are paving the way toward discovery.

A project called ACTPol in Chile, and another called SuMIRe in Hawaii, are launching massive observation campaigns that will image and map the positions of galaxies over billions of years of . This new picture will allow astronomers to study how has influenced the evolution of the universe. It may also help answer a question that confounds scientists today: why did dark energy kick in about 7 billion years ago, taking over the fate of the universe by causing the accelerated expansion we see today?

The Kavli Foundation recently held a roundtable discussion with three key researchers associated with two new and collaborating dark : ACTPol, which stands for Atacama Cosmology Telescope—Polarization" and SuMIRe, or "Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts."

"Together, we can build a big picture for how fast grew at different points in cosmic history," says David Spergel, a and professor at Princeton University and a leader of the ACTPol team. "And that will tell us how fast the universe was expanding at different points in time—whether it changed and how it changed."

Says Masahiro Takada, a professor at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the universe (Kavli IPMU) and a leading team member of SuMIRe: "Mapping galaxies and galaxy clusters throughout history tells us about the two dominant competing forces in the universe: the of , which drives the growth of galaxies and galaxy clusters, and dark energy, which causes the universe to expand and pull everything apart. … So, mapping over time tells us the story about this ongoing competition between dark matter and dark energy."

Michael Niemack, an assistant professor of physics at Cornell University and a leading team member of the ACTPol team, says: "We have the potential to understand cosmology from the most minute scales of particle physics, such as what dark matter might be made of, all the way to the grandest scales where dark energy is dominating the expansion today."

On Aug. 22, from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. PDT (19:00-19:30 UTC), The Kavli Foundation will host a live webcast on dark energy, featuring Michael Niemack as well as two researchers with the Dark Energy Survey: Joshua Frieman and Marcelle Soares-Santos. The three scientists will answer questions from the public during the live Google Hangout.

Explore further: Short, sharp shocks let slip the stories of supernovae

More information: www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/revealing-dark-energy-hold-universe

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User comments : 4

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vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (12) Aug 16, 2013
The race is on to solve the mystery of dark energy, the unknown force that is causing the universe to expand faster and faster. It's one of the biggest open questions in cosmology, but now a handful of high-profile projects are paving the way toward discovery.

We hope so!

On Aug. 22, from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. PDT (19:00-19:30 UTC), The Kavli Foundation will host a live webcast on dark energy, featuring Michael Niemack as well as two researchers with the Dark Energy Survey: Joshua Frieman and Marcelle Soares-Santos. The three scientists will answer questions from the public during the live Google Hangout.


While waiting, maybe this simple scientific view could help to visualize the Dark Energy mentioned…..
http://www.vacuum...14〈=en
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (4) Aug 16, 2013
In general relativity the Universe must be unstable and it would expand or collapse with increasing rate (compare the http://www.ster.k...da.jpg).


All of those include dark energy, the graphic compares curvature.

In the absence of dark energy, the expansion would always slow though at a reducing rate.

So what is so surprising about dark energy, after then?


A) It differs from what QM predicts by ~120 orders of magnitude, why?

B) Should it be on the LHS or the RHS of the EFE?
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2013
" It may also help answer a question that confounds scientists today: why did dark energy kick in about 7 billion years ago, taking over the fate of the universe by causing the accelerated expansion we see today?"

It didn't "kick in", it has always been there at a constant level (since the end of inflation), the rate of expansion started accelerating simply because the matter density is always reducing as the universe expands.

Odd that the article makes such a basic mistake.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2013
"We have the potential to understand cosmology from the most minute scales of particle physics, such as what dark matter might be made of, all the way to the grandest scales where dark energy is dominating the expansion today."


They have the "potential" with their motley patchwork of ad-hoc'd hypotheses to do what plasma physics explicitly does without inventing "mysterious" energy and matter.

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