Friday, April 5, 2024

A Tantalizing ‘Hint’ That Astronomers Got Dark Energy All Wrong - The New York Times

On Thursday, astronomers who are conducting what they describe as the biggest and most precise survey yet of the history of the universe announced that they might have discovered a major flaw in their understanding of dark energy, the mysterious force that is speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

Dark energy was assumed to be a constant force in the universe, both currently and throughout cosmic history. But the new data suggest that it may be more changeable, growing stronger or weaker over time, reversing or even fading away.

“As Biden would say, it’s a B.F.D.,” said Adam Riess, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. He shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with two other astronomers for the discovery of dark energy, but was not involved in this new study. “It may be the first real clue we have gotten about the nature of dark energy in 25 years,” he said.

That conclusion, if confirmed, could liberate astronomers — and the rest of us — from a longstanding, grim prediction about the ultimate fate of the universe. If the work of dark energy were constant over time, it would eventually push all the stars and galaxies so far apart that even atoms could be torn asunder, sapping the universe of all life, light, energy and thought, and condemning it to an everlasting case of the cosmic blahs. Instead, it seems, dark energy is capable of changing course and pointing the cosmos toward a richer future.


Well, good news I guess. If it's true.

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If the numbers don't add up Engineers say "I've made a mistake". Physicists say "Dark Energy, Dark matter".

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 5, 2024 2:13:06 PM

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