Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dark Energy

Technology pushing back the bounds of science…good stuff!

Dark Energy's Early Existence
By Paul Jackson

December 4 - Recently, NASA researchers found new evidence that dark energy, thought to cause the universe to expand at an accelerating rate, was present in the early universe.

Observations of distant supernovae using the Hubble Space Telescope show that dark energy existed as far back as 9 billion years ago, roughly 4 billion years after the big bang and at least 3 billion years earlier than previous data indicated.

Albert Einstein incorporated in his General Theory of Relativity an adjustable term called the “cosmological constant” that prevented the collapse of the universe, creating an essentially static universe. This term fell into disrepute, however, as observations during Einstein’s life showed the universe to be expanding, leading him to conclude that the cosmological constant was zero and to declare its inclusion was his “biggest blunder.” During the 1990s, researchers conclusively observed that the expansion of the universe was accelerating, indicating the presence of a phenomenon dubbed “dark energy”, possibly the same factor that Einstein included in his General Theory.