New Supernova Analysis Questions Dark Energy, Cosmic Acceleration

Andrew Pontzen and Fabio Governato/ Wikimedia Commons
Timescape cosmology offers a way around one of the universe’s best mysteries.

By Michael Byrne | MOTHERBOARD

One of my personal favorite features of the universe is that it is at this moment being ripped to shreds. Granted, it’s so far a very slow ripping, but, thanks to a peculiar property often referred to as dark energy, the universe is not just expanding, but it is accelerating in its expansion. It will continue to do so, which means that as time increases, it will expand faster and faster. Eventually all of this ripping will render existence an endless expanse of cold nothingness. Space will have been shredded and scattered to infinity.

This is a still pretty new understanding. Though Einstein kinda-sorta predicted it, it wasn’t until the 1990s that observations of distant supernovae indicated to astronomers that space is receding from itself, that there is some fundamental-seeming driver―commonly referred to as dark energy―that makes empty spaces want to become bigger and emptier. The evidence was that light from these supernovae appeared to be redshifted, a phenomenon where life waves become stretched out as a light source moves away from the observer.

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