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New Data Shows Mysterious Force in Universe, as Einstein Said
NY Times ^ | February 20, 2004 | JAMES GLANZ

Posted on 02/20/2004 7:27:46 PM PST by neverdem

MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Feb. 20 — A dark, unseen energy permeating space is pushing the universe apart just as Einstein predicted it could in 1917, according to striking new measurements of distant exploding stars by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

The energy, whose source remains unknown, was named the cosmological constant by Einstein. In a prediction he later called "my greatest blunder," but which received its most stringent test ever with the new measurements, Einstein posited a kind of antigravity force pushing galaxies apart with a strength that did not change over billions of years of cosmic history.

Theorists seeking to explain the mysterious force have suggested that it could, in fact, become stronger or weaker over time — either finally tearing the universe apart in a violent event called "the big rip" or shutting down in the distant future. If the force somehow shut down, gravity would again predominate in the cosmos and the universe would collapse on itself. That version of oblivion is sometimes called "the big crunch."

The new observations, which were led by Dr. Adam Riess at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, made the tightest measurements ever on the strength of the antigravity force over time. The observations relied on Hubble observations of the exploding stars, or supernovas, which are swept up in the dark energy's cosmic push.

But rather than seeing the changes in the push that many theorists had predicted, Einstein's steady, unchanging cosmological constant fits the data better than any of the alternatives.

"What we've found is that it looks like a semi-permanent kind of dark energy," Dr. Riess said. "It appears like it's been with us for a long time; if it is changing it's doing so slowly."

"Einstein's theory," Dr. Riess added, "is looking a lot better than before this data."

While the new results favor Einstein's nearly century-old prediction, they do not yet entirely rule out the stranger and more changeable forms of energy that some theorists have put forth. In particular, scientific proponents of the big rip, in which the energy would eventually become so powerful that it tears apart planets, stars and even atoms, have been left with some hope. But the data suggest, Dr. Riess said, that any ultimate cataclysm could not occur until well into the distant future, perhaps 30 billion years from now.

The measurements raise new questions about NASA's decision, which is now being reviewed, to let the Hubble Space Telescope die a slow death in space over the next several years rather than attempt another servicing mission with the space shuttle. NASA's administrator, Sean O'Keefe, has said that a servicing mission would be too risky in the wake of the disaster involving the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Dr. Riess said he disagreed with the decision to shut down the Hubble.

"The Hubble is an invaluable tool in the studies," he said. "Nothing else can contribute this kind of data. I think to stop doing this science with Hubble would be a very unfortunate choice."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: California; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: alberteinstein; antigravityforce; hubbletelescope; nasa; space

1 posted on 02/20/2004 7:27:47 PM PST by neverdem
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To: fourdeuce82d; Travis McGee; El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; ...
PING
2 posted on 02/20/2004 7:29:43 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
A dark, unseen energy permeating space

Al Gore?

3 posted on 02/20/2004 7:30:27 PM PST by woofie ( If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried)
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To: neverdem

The Force is strong with these two.

4 posted on 02/20/2004 7:30:39 PM PST by martin_fierro (Any musical with a PBY-5 Catalina in it can't be all bad.)
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To: neverdem
A dark, unseen energy permeating space is pushing the universe apart

Hell, I knew this back in 1998 when Gray Davis was elected governor of California.

5 posted on 02/20/2004 7:31:43 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: neverdem
"What we've found is that it looks like a semi-permanent kind of dark energy,"

You know, referring to God as semi-permanent doesn't look good on one's afterlife resume.

6 posted on 02/20/2004 7:31:46 PM PST by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: neverdem
But the data suggest, Dr. Riess said, that any ultimate cataclysm could not occur until well into the distant future, perhaps 30 billion years from now.

The figure of 55 billion years has appeared elsewhere. I hope it's not 30 billion as I plan on living a long time.

7 posted on 02/20/2004 7:34:03 PM PST by VadeRetro
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To: neverdem
You know, for a project that was widley panned as a failure Hubble has revealed some remarkable discoveries.
8 posted on 02/20/2004 7:39:11 PM PST by mylife
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To: neverdem
Hmmm... Babylon 5....
9 posted on 02/20/2004 7:39:51 PM PST by ambrose ("John Kerry has blood of American soldiers on his hands" - Lt. Col. Oliver North)
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To: VadeRetro
The figure of 55 billion years has appeared elsewhere. I hope it's not 30 billion as I plan on living a long time.

You haven't lived until you've experienced the "big rip".

10 posted on 02/20/2004 7:43:14 PM PST by FreeReign
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To: FreeReign
You haven't lived until you've experienced the "big rip".

I hate hearing that noise when I bend over.

11 posted on 02/20/2004 7:44:38 PM PST by VadeRetro
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To: mylife
I hope they reconsider its abandonment. They have rescue plans in the event of suspected Space Shuttle emergencies according to what I read not long ago. They're going to keep one in a standby backup role, IIRC. Later for the moon and Mars. What's Rove smoking, opiated weed?
12 posted on 02/20/2004 7:47:20 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem; blam; RLK; Physicist
"The breath of God?"

I like the elegence of the big bang-big crunch cycle, over billions of years. Would that be the pulse of God?

13 posted on 02/20/2004 8:08:35 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: TADSLOS
Took the words right out of my thoughts....
14 posted on 02/20/2004 8:10:21 PM PST by Hotdog
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To: TADSLOS
You know, referring to God as semi-permanent doesn't look good on one's afterlife resume.

And if he's "dark," the liturgy needs more about ho's and bitches.
15 posted on 02/20/2004 8:11:40 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: Travis McGee; neverdem
"The breath of God?"

I'll go with that one too.

16 posted on 02/20/2004 8:16:05 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Ping
17 posted on 02/20/2004 8:18:10 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tag Lines Repaired While You Wait! Reasonable Prices! Fast Service!)
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To: mylife
Speak of the devil, the rescue plans:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1082497/posts



18 posted on 02/20/2004 8:22:13 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: Fiddlstix
Thanks for the ping. See post #16, we were passing.
19 posted on 02/20/2004 8:22:22 PM PST by blam
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To: FreeReign
You haven't lived until you've experienced the "big rip".

Occasionally I experience a 'big rip'...

20 posted on 02/20/2004 8:25:25 PM PST by CommandoFrank (If GW is the terrorist's worst nightmare, Kerry is their wet dream...)
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To: CommandoFrank
Occasionally I experience a 'big rip'...

Einstein had a theory called such, and he demonstrated it often by asking the observing scientist to exhibit a pulling force upon his index finger.

21 posted on 02/20/2004 8:31:17 PM PST by FreeReign
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To: neverdem
Wouldn't it be great to know what Einstein's IQ actually was? Probably off all the charts we have.
22 posted on 02/20/2004 8:32:28 PM PST by Chu Gary (USN Intel guy 1967 - 1970)
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To: Chu Gary
Einstein actually had a variable bit rate IQ, commonly refered to as VBR IQ. Whenever he posited a liberal viewpoint, his IQ shot up by multiples of 50. When he posited the opposite it dropped by a similar amount, sometimes wandering into negative digit territory.
23 posted on 02/20/2004 8:46:23 PM PST by kylaka (The Clintons are the democRATS crack cocaine. They know they're bad for them, they just can't stop.)
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To: FreeReign
LOL with tears in my eyes...
24 posted on 02/20/2004 8:49:03 PM PST by CommandoFrank (If GW is the terrorist's worst nightmare, Kerry is their wet dream...)
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To: neverdem
Related thread: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1082345/posts
25 posted on 02/20/2004 10:04:53 PM PST by RightWingAtheist
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To: neverdem
"Einstein's theory," Dr. Riess added, "is looking a lot better than before this data."

Whaaaaa????? I thought the point of the article was that Einstein was right.

One more thing. I thought the point of the article was that there was a cosmological constant. If the data is changing, wouldn't that violate the constnacy of the constant? I bet Dr. Riess would like to have that sentence back. Either that or he is a stereotypical scientist who can't communicate in normal language.

26 posted on 02/20/2004 10:12:16 PM PST by rogueleader
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To: neverdem
The Territorial Constant = Humans are suckers for a good story...
27 posted on 02/20/2004 10:48:21 PM PST by hosepipe
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To: hosepipe
Here's a little more of an interesting story:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1082513/posts







28 posted on 02/20/2004 11:09:26 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
[ Here's a little more of an interesting story: ]

Saw it, thanks.. reminds me of Cosmo Kramer Phd..

29 posted on 02/20/2004 11:17:44 PM PST by hosepipe
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To: neverdem
"May the Schwartz be with you!"
30 posted on 02/20/2004 11:22:04 PM PST by Consort
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To: neverdem
It's called The Will of God.
31 posted on 02/20/2004 11:22:27 PM PST by mercy
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To: neverdem
A dark, unseen energy...

Shouldn't that be "A clear, unseen energy..."?

32 posted on 02/20/2004 11:24:38 PM PST by Consort
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To: neverdem
Theorists seeking to explain the mysterious force have suggested that it could, in fact, become stronger or weaker over time...

Well, isn't that conveeeeeeeeeenient.

-PJ

33 posted on 02/20/2004 11:29:43 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: Political Junkie Too
Most folks won't live long enough to find out, especially if there's a doomsday, whatever the cause.
34 posted on 02/20/2004 11:51:22 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
The New York Times via Marina Del Ray commenting on a theory of Einstein's, now isn't that precious. You boys and girls just don't understand. Leave the mathematics to the real scientists and drink your scotch, it's saver that way. You really don't want to get into a discussion that will PROVE you an idiot.
35 posted on 02/20/2004 11:51:33 PM PST by timydnuc ("Give me Liberty, or give me death"!)
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To: neverdem
Acceleration of the expansion of the universe. Faster than C data transfer. Stars that appear older than the known universe's age.

These things are the stepping stones that are leading to some fundamental new thinking in science.

We're just at the first baby steps, there's so much more to know.
36 posted on 02/20/2004 11:54:38 PM PST by Monty22
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To: timydnuc
You really don't want to get into a discussion that will PROVE you an idiot.

If you want to start a discussion to prove me an idiot, then please go for it. I'm old enough to recognize and acknowledge my errors. I post articles like this for those with a general interest in science, especially physics and astronomy. But please satisfy your heart's content, only no references to scripture.

37 posted on 02/21/2004 12:20:41 AM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: timydnuc
Leave the mathematics to the real scientists and drink your scotch, it's saver that way.

BTW, I'm just a humble physician, I trust "saver" was a typo for "safer", so I shouldn't have to ask, correct? Also, I can't take scotch.

38 posted on 02/21/2004 12:38:11 AM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
scientific proponents of the big rip, in which the energy would eventually become so powerful that it tears apart planets, stars and even atoms, have been left with some hope.

Some people hope for the damnedest things.

Oh Lord, wont'cha buy me
a force that tears apart planets.


39 posted on 02/21/2004 12:48:40 AM PST by Nick Danger (With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.)
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To: Nick Danger
Some people hope for the damnedest things.

You may be interested in this post I made on a related thread.

40 posted on 02/21/2004 4:58:54 AM PST by Physicist (Sophie Rhiannon Sterner, born 1/19/2004: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1061267/posts)
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To: FairOpinion; Swordmaker

An oldie.


41 posted on 04/05/2006 12:11:57 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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