Revealing dark energy’s hold on the Universe: What a new collaboration hopes to uncover

The race is on to solve the mystery of dark energy, the unknown force that is causing the universe to expand faster and faster. It’s one of the biggest open questions in cosmology, but now a handful of high-profile projects…

The race is on to solve the mystery of dark energy, the unknown force that is causing the universe to expand faster and faster. It’s one of the biggest open questions in cosmology, but now a handful of high-profile projects are paving the way toward discovery.

A project called ACTPol in Chile, and another called SuMIRe in Hawaii, are launching massive observation campaigns that will image and map the positions of galaxies over billions of years of cosmic history. This new picture will allow astronomers to study how dark energy has influenced the evolution of the universe. It may also help answer a question that confounds scientists today: why did dark energy kick in about 7 billion years ago, taking over the fate of the universe by causing the accelerated expansion we see today?
The Kavli Foundation recently held a roundtable discussion with three key researchers associated with two new and collaborating dark energy projects: ACTPol, which stands for Atacama Cosmology Telescope—Polarization” and SuMIRe, or “Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts.”
“Together, we can build a big picture for how fast galaxy clusters grew at different points in cosmic history,” says David Spergel, a theoretical astrophysicist and professor at Princeton University and a leader of the ACTPol team. “And that will tell us how fast the universe was expanding at different points in time—whether it changed and how it changed.”
Says Masahiro Takada, a professor at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the universe (Kavli IPMU) and a leading team member of SuMIRe: “Mapping galaxies and galaxy clusters throughout history tells us about the two dominant competing forces in the universe: the gravitational force of dark matter, which drives the growth of galaxies and galaxy clusters, and dark energy, which causes the universe to expand and pull everything apart. … So, mapping cosmic structure over time tells us the story about this ongoing competition between dark matter and dark energy.”
Michael Niemack, an assistant professor of physics at Cornell University and a leading team member of the ACTPol team, says: “We have the potential to understand cosmology from the most minute scales of particle physics, such as what dark matter might be made of, all the way to the grandest scales where dark energy is dominating the expansion today.”
On Aug. 22, from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. PDT (19:00-19:30 UTC), The Kavli Foundation will host a live webcast on dark energy, featuring Michael Niemack as well as two researchers with the Dark Energy Survey: Joshua Frieman and Marcelle Soares-Santos. The three scientists will answer questions from the public during the live Google Hangout.

Explore further:

Thales Alenia Space kicks off Euclid construction

More information: www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/revealing-dark-energy-hold-universe

Provided by American Astronomical Society

view popular

3.8 /5 (5 votes)

Related Stories

Thales Alenia Space kicks off Euclid construction

Jul 09, 2013

The construction of ESA’s Euclid space mission to explore the ‘dark Universe’ will be led by Italy’s Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, beginning the full industrial phase of the project.

Euclid to probe dark Universe with Astrium science module

Jun 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —The module carrying the telescope and scientific instruments of ESA’s Euclid ‘dark Universe’ mission is now being developed by Astrium in Toulouse, France.

First hundred thousand years of our universe: Researchers find tantalizing new hints of clues

Aug 07, 2013

Mystery fans know that the best way to solve a mystery is to revisit the scene where it began and look for clues. To understand the mysteries of our universe, scientists are trying to go back as far they …

Can a new camera unravel the nature of dark energy?

Oct 12, 2012

Scientists have great expectations for the newly operational Dark Energy Camera, which may significantly advance our understanding of the mysterious force expanding the Universe at an ever accelerating rate. …

Physicists propose Higgs boson ‘portal’ as the source of this elusive entity

Aug 09, 2013

One of the biggest mysteries in contemporary particle physics and cosmology is why dark energy, which is observed to dominate energy density of the universe, has a remarkably small (but not zero) value. This value is so small, …

NASA joins ESA’s ‘dark universe’ mission

Jan 24, 2013

(Phys.org)—NASA has officially joined ESA’s Euclid mission, a space telescope designed to investigate the mysterious natures of dark matter and dark energy.

Recommended for you

Pulsars make a GPS for the cosmos

Aug 16, 2013

(Phys.org) —CSIRO scientists have written software that could guide spacecraft to Alpha Centauri, show that the planet Nibiru doesn’t exist … and prove that the Earth goes around the Sun.

First MeerKAT antenna foundation poured

Aug 16, 2013

The concrete for the first MeerKAT antenna foundation was poured yesterday at South Africa’s SKA site in the Karoo. This is the first of 64 similar foundations that will be constructed for this telescope …

NASA gives up fixing Kepler planet-hunting telescope

Aug 15, 2013

NASA called off all attempts to fix its crippled Kepler space telescope Thursday. But it’s not quite ready to call it quits on the remarkable, robotic planet hunter.

Cosmic turbulences result in star and black hole formation

Aug 15, 2013

Just how stars and black holes in the Universe are able to form from rotating matter is one of the big questions of astrophysics. What we do know is that magnetic fields figure prominently into the picture. …

Astronomers show galaxies had ‘mature’ shapes 11.5 billion years ago

Aug 15, 2013

Studying the evolution and anatomy of galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers led by doctoral candidate BoMee Lee and her advisor Mauro Giavalisco at the University …

Dwarf galaxy caught ramming into a large spiral

Aug 14, 2013

Observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a massive cloud of multimillion-degree gas in a galaxy about 60 million light years from Earth. The hot gas cloud is likely caused by a collision …

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

More news stories

NASA sees Tropical Storm Pewa develop in central Pacific

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over two developing low pressure areas in the Central Pacific Ocean, just before one of them strengthened into Tropical Storm Pewa.

Erin weakens to a tropical depression over eastern Atlantic

Tropical Storm Erin ran into cooler waters and dry, stable air over the Eastern Atlantic that sapped its strength and weakening the storm to depression status. NOAA’s GOES-East satellite showed the storm …

Two Russians turn cable guys in record spacewalk (Update)

In a record-long spacewalk, Russian cosmonauts rigged cable outside the International Space Station on Friday for a new lab that’s due to arrive in a few months.

Cosmologist suggests universe might not be expanding after all

(Phys.org) —Cosmologist Christof Wetterich of the University of Heidelberg has uploaded a paper to the arXiv server in which he claims it’s possible that the theory of expansion of the universe might be inc …

Mysterious magnetar boasts one of strongest magnetic fields in Universe

(Phys.org) —A team of astronomers including two researchers from UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has made the first ever measurement of the magnetic field at a specific spot on the surface of a magnetar. …

‘Area 51’ exists, but no UFOs: CIA paper

A newly declassified CIA document confirms the existence of famed Area 51 in Nevada, but conspiracy theorists will be disappointed the spy agency offers no proof of alien spaceship landings in the desert.

Robot does standup for London audience (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —Robots as military gear haulers? Got it. Assembly line handlers? Got it. Waiters for the elderly? Check. Stand-up comics? Huh? A new role for robots may be trending, with the recent performance …

Roche drops India patent for breast-cancer drug

Swiss giant Roche says it has decided not to pursue an Indian patent for top-selling breast cancer drug Herceptin, paving the way for local generic drugmakers to make a cheaper version.

BlackBerry chief executive could get almost $55.6M

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins could receive almost $55.6 million if the company is sold and he is ousted from the top job.

Energy Dept.: Personal data compromised by hackers

The Energy Department says personal information for about 14,000 past and current employees was compromised after the department’s computers were hacked. Information such as Social Security numbers and names was disclosed …