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What is Dark Energy?

3 Oct 2014, 18:12 UTC
What is Dark Energy?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

There is a dark side to the universe; in fact, most of what makes up our cosmos is dark. In our post, entitled ‘What Is Dark Matter?,’ we introduced this pie chart that shows the relative composition of everything in the universe.
Composition of matter in the universe. These numbers have been revised by results from the Planck mission. More info here. Credit: NASA/ESA
This deceptively simple diagram shows the percentages of everything the universe is made of. Embedded in this uncomplicated, straightforward pie chart is a story full of surprises and anxiety.

Measuring the Universe
With the exception of Einstein’s “biggest blunder,” few prior to the 1990’s had any expectation that a cosmological force, such as dark energy, even existed. It was thought that the universe was solely comprised of normal matter and dark matter. There was much debate on the nature of dark matter. How much is there? How much is made of exotic undiscovered particles versus the more mundane but visibly dark stuff like planets, small stars, etc.? Much has been learned, but dark matter is still largely a mystery today. Theories and experiments abound to find all constituents of the missing dark matter, particularly the exotic ...

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