As I am utterly unequipped to articulate such grand awesomeness any better than Lisa Grossman over at the Wired blog, I’ll stick to her version of last week’s news:
Our view of dark energy, the mysterious force that is shoving the universe apart, just got a little clearer. By observing the way large clumps of mass distort their local space-time into enormous cosmological lenses, astronomers have zoomed in on a quantity that describes how dark energy works.
The universe’s composition breaks down roughly as follows: traditional atomic matter = 4%; dark matter = 24%; dark energy = 72%. Dark matter is observable because of its gravitational effects on the 4% with which we’re well acquainted. The majority of the universe, however, is composed of a mysterious energy that astronomers and physicists believe must be responsible for our ever-expanding (at an ever-accelerating rate) cosmos.
Forgive the sheen of my ignorance on this subject – I’ll do my best to keep things accurate. The catch with dark energy is that it seems to drive the universe outward, but without the observable particles of other fields (i.e. electromagnetic and photons). And it’s doing it at a faster and faster rate.
Before I touch on the Wired article and the new study, here’s a slice of weirdness that is worth exploring if you’ve got the time and inclination to have your brain rocked: Read the rest of this entry »