Dark Energy

Dark Energy should not to be confused with Dark Matter or Dark Fluid.

In astronomy and cosmology Dark Matter is matter that is inferred to exist from gravitational effects on visible matter and background radiation, but is undetectable by emitted or scattered electromagnetic radiation.

Dark Fluid is an alternative theory to both Dark Matter and Dark Energy that attempts to explain both phenomena in a single framework. It proposes that dark matter and dark energy are not separate physical phenomena as previously thought, nor do they have separate origins, but that they are linked together and are really specific sub-effects of new extended laws of gravity at very large scales.

While dark energy repels, dark matter attracts. Dark energy shows itself only on the largest cosmic scale, while dark matter exerts its influence on individual galaxies as well as the universe at large. About one-quarter of the universe consists of dark matter, which releases no detectable energy, but which exerts a gravitational pull on all the visible matter in the universe.

In physical cosmology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, dark energy was a hypothetical and allegedly confirmed form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most accepted theory to explain recent observations and experiments that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 73% of the total mass-energy of the universe.

Two proposed forms for dark energy are the cosmological constant, originally proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe. Einstein abandoned the concept after the observation of the Hubble redshift indicated that the universe might not be stationary, as he had based his theory on the idea that the universe is unchanging. However, a number of observations including the discovery of cosmic acceleration in 1998 have revived the cosmological constant, and the current standard model of cosmology includes this term.

Researcher finds hint of dark energy discussion in letters between Einstein and Schrodinger   PhysOrg - December 11, 2012

Alex Harvey, a physics professor at the City University of New York has uploaded a paper in which he claims Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrodinger were writing letters suggesting the two men were on the precipice of discussing the possibility of the existence of dark energy. The letter exchange came in the years after Einstein had published his theories on general relativity, and revolved around the matter of the cosmological constant.

The first direct evidence for dark matter was discovered while studying the outer regions of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The first direct evidence for dark energy came from supernova observations of accelerated expansion, in Riess et al. and later confirmed in Perlmutter et al. This resulted in the Lambda - CDM model, which as of 2006 is consistent with a series of increasingly rigorous cosmological observations, the latest being the 2005 Supernova Legacy Survey. First results from the SNLS reveal that the average behavior (i.e., equation of state) of dark energy behaves like Einstein's cosmological constant to a precision of 10%. Recent results from the Hubble Space Telescope Higher-Z Team indicate that dark energy has been present for at least 9 billion years and during the period preceding cosmic acceleration.

The term dark energy, echoing Fritz Zwicky's dark matter from the 1930s, was coined by Michael Turner in 1998. By that time, the missing mass problem of big bang nucleosynthesis and large scale structure was established, and some cosmologists had started to theorize that there was an additional component to our universe.

In the 1970s Alan Guth proposed that a negative pressure field, similar in concept to dark energy, could drive cosmic inflation in the very early universe. Inflation postulates that some repulsive force, qualitatively similar to dark energy, resulted in an enormous and exponential expansion of the universe slightly after the Big Bang. Such expansion is an essential feature of most current models of the Big Bang. However, inflation must have occurred at a much higher energy density than the dark energy we observe today and is thought to have completely ended when the universe was just a fraction of a second old. It is unclear what relation, if any, exists between dark energy and inflation. Even after inflationary models became accepted, the cosmological constant was thought to be irrelevant to the current universe.