Home Science Why Is The Universe Expanding At An Accelerating Rate?

Why Is The Universe Expanding At An Accelerating Rate?

Credit: Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

Scientists have yet to determine why the expansion of the cosmos is speeding up. There is a contradiction between this event and what scientists know about gravity’s role on the universe. Imagine hurling an apple into the air and watching it soar higher and higher. Dark energy has been called the unknown accelerator of the universe.

The latest attempt to figure out whether this is all just a misunderstanding—whether our expectations for how gravity works on the scale of the entire universe are incorrect or insufficient—is a study from the international Dark Energy Survey conducted with the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile. A better knowledge of dark energy could result from clearing up this possible misconception. One of the most stringent tests of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity on cosmic scales to date, the study concludes that our current understanding is consistent with the data.

Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other institutions published their findings on Wednesday, August 23, at the COSMO’22 conference in Rio de Janeiro. This research lays the groundwork for two future space telescopes that will investigate the nature of gravity with much more precision than the current investigation.

The orbit of Mercury and the existence of black holes were both precisely predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, which he created more than a century ago to describe gravity. Some scientists have claimed that if this theory can’t account for dark energy, then perhaps it has to have some of its equations tweaked or new components added.

Members of the Dark Energy Survey set out to determine if this was the case by searching for indications that the pull of gravity has changed across cosmic time or great distances. If confirmed, this would show that Einstein’s theory is flawed and point to a possible cause of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Data from other telescopes, such as the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, were also analyzed alongside Blanco data, and the same conclusion was drawn.