Welcome to the biggest mystery in physics: one of the great known unknowns of the universe is the nature of dark energy, an antigravitaional force field making the universe expand faster. Current theories range from end-of-the universe scenarios to dark energy as the manifestation of advanced intelligent life. It is the proverbial elephant in the “cosmic” room. (more…)
Something is messing with our universe, and that something is the enduring mystery astronomers have dubbed dark energy –which comprises about two-thirds of the mass and energy in the universe.
“Eventually we reach the utmost limits of our telescopes –there we measure shadows, and we search among the ghostly errors of measurement for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial,” said Edwin Hubble in 1929, creator of Hubble’s law that observed that the further galaxies are, the faster they are moving away from Earth –the “red shift.” Predictions of Hubble’s Constant from the standard cosmological model when applied to new measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB)—the leftover radiation from the Big Bang—have produced a value of 67.4, a significant and troubling difference. This difference, which astronomers say is one of the fundamental problems in all of physics, is beyond the experimental errors in the observations.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Nobel-Prize winning physicist Adam Riess said: “I have absolutely no clue what dark energy is. Dark energy appears strong enough to push the entire universe – yet its source is unknown, its location is unknown and its physics are highly speculative.”
“The Hubble tension between the early and late universe may be the most exciting development in cosmology in decades,” says Nobel laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Johns Hopkins University. New Hubble Space Telescope data suggests a faster expansion rate in the modern universe than expected based on how the universe appeared more than 13 billion years ago, strengthening the case that new theories may be needed to explain the dark energy forces that have shaped the cosmos.