February 1st, 2008

galaxy M51

Astro-image of the Day: New research suggests dark energy is real

Ever since the dawn of time - and the Big Bang - everything has been moving away from each other. That initial boom thrust everything apart, but because no new energy has been added to the universe, that should be all there is to the accelerating-away-from-each-other thing. Galaxies should be decelerating or even moving toward one another due to their gravitational attraction, but instead galaxies are accelerating away from each other at higher rates all the time. The force that makes them behave this way is explained as "dark energy," because something has to be counteracting gravity.

New results (if you can read French, click here for the full story) modeling the universe in 3D are consistent with a dark-energy explanation for the acceleration of an expanding universe.

This "deepest-ever" view into the history of the universe shows hundreds of galaxies from the dawn of galaxy formation:

Hubble Space Telescope photo. Click it to see the story.

So we have way-cool Super-Science! and a pretty picture, too.

Best,
Chris