More than 70% of the Universe is made of ‘dark energy’, the mysterious stuff even stranger than dark matter.
The Conversation 17.1 MB (download)
Today on the podcast, we explore what we know about dark energy, believed to be responsible for the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.
Dark matter and gas in the universe. There may be more dark matter than we think.
A study has suggested that the universe is curved like a sphere rather than flat, which may unleash a major crisis in cosmology.
Star trails take shape around the story Mayall Telescop dome in Arizona.
P. Marenfeld and NOAO/AURA/NSF).jpg
Will we have to rewrite Einstein's theory of gravity? The DESI experiment could find out.
G299 was left over by a Type Ia supernova.
The rate of the universe's expansion is in dispute. But a new kind of measurement offers hope.
Bubbles can be modelled as having a negative mass.
Forget about dark matter and dark energy, new research suggests that the existence of 'dark fluid' may solve some of the biggest mysteries in physics.
HIRAX prototype dishes at Hartebeesthoek Astronomy Observatory near Johannesburg.
By sharing a location with the SKA, HIRAX will be able to conduct science in “radio-clear” skies across its wide frequency range.
Galaxy history revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
From a mysterious energy of empty space to parallel universes, cosmology's view of 'nothing' is anything but boring.
Colorful view of universe as seen by Hubble in 2014.
NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)
New observations show we don't really understand the universe's expansion.
Nobody knows for sure where black holes lead to.
The pull created by a black hole is so strong that if you get too close to one – even if you are travelling away from it at the fastest speed it is possible to go – you will never be able escape.
About a century ago, we didn’t even know that galaxies existed.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Pretty much as soon as we understood what galaxies were, we realised they are all moving away from each other. And the ones that are further away are moving faster. In short, the universe is expanding.
Artist s impression of merging neutron stars.
Author University of Warwick/Mark Garlick
Cosmologists who were hoping to be the next Einstein have had to bin their theories.
Image showing where scientists believe dark matter resides in the galaxy cluster Abell 520
– near the hot gas in the middle, coloured green.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
Controversial new study challenges contemporary thinking about what the universe is made of.
Part of the new map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey.
Chihway Chang/University of Chicago/DES collaboration
We still can't see the dark matter thought to make up about a quarter of the universe, but at least now we have a map of its structure.
Simulated universe: EAGLE collaboration, J Schaye et al 2015.
Is dark energy just an illusion, as is often suggested? To resolve the dilemma, interpreting the basic principles of general relativity in a complex Universe may need a rethink.
There are two broad ways to measure the expansion of the universe. One is based on the cosmic microwave background, shown here, along with our own galaxy viewed in microwave wavelengths.
ESA, HFI & LFI consortia (2010)
The universe is expanding faster than expected, but we don't know what's driving it. Here are a few of the possible explanations, from dark energy to a modification of general relativity.
Artist’s impression of the Square Kilometre Array.
SKA Project Development Office and Swinburne Astronomy Productions/wikimedia
Dark energy is a completely unknown source making up 70% of the universe. Will any of the new projects designed to find out what it is succeed?
CSIRO’s Compact Array telescope under the Milky Way.
Astronomers think they may have found evidence within our galaxy of some of the missing matter thought to make up our universe.
Our tendency to see what we want to see is the biggest threat to cosmology.
Confirmation bias, the psychological effect that makes people unconsciously interpret information to confirm their beliefs, is a big threat to cosmology.
Understanding how galaxies are arranged could be the key to figuring what causes the expansion of the universe.
ESA/Hubble, NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast)
A unique map of the galaxies in the sky could shed light on the mysteries of the universe – including dark energy and dark matter.
How do we think about something we can’t see and don’t experience in our everyday lives, but seems to be pushing our universe apart ever faster?
NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team
Einstein's theory of gravity says dark energy must be out there, accelerating the expansion of our universe. But what is it and how can we try to figure out more about it?