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Einstein's Dark Energy Accelerates the Universe
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC] ^ | 22 November 2005 | Staff

Posted on 11/24/2005 10:08:26 AM PST by PatrickHenry

The genius of Albert Einstein, who added a "cosmological constant" to his equation for the expansion of the universe but later retracted it, may be vindicated by new research published today in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The enigmatic "dark energy" that drives the acceleration of the Universe behaves just like Einstein's famed cosmological constant, according to the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS), an international team of researchers in France and Toronto and Victoria in Canada, collaborating with large telescope observers in Oxford, Caltech and Berkeley. Their observations reveal that the dark energy behaves like Einstein's cosmological constant to a precision of 10%.

"The significance is huge," said Professor Ray Carlberg of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. "Our observation is at odds with a number of theoretical ideas about the nature of dark energy that predict that it should change as the universe expands, and as far as we can see, it doesn't."

"We have set ourselves a very challenging goal - to distinguish whether the dark energy can be explained by Einstein's cosmological constant or whether a new physical theory is needed." Says Dr Isobel Hook of the University of Oxford, "So far our results are consistent with Einstein's cosmological constant, but the best is still to come. The first year results already represent the largest homogeneous set of distant supernovae, but over the full five years of the survey we will improve our precision more and more. Our goal is a measurement of the nature dark energy that will be a true legacy for years to come."

She added "Before dark energy was being considered, Einstein invented the 'cosmological constant' to make his equations fit with his ideas about the Universe, but later regretted it, calling it his biggest blunder'. Now we know he may have been closer to the truth than he realised."

The Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) aims to discover and examine 700 distant supernovae to map out the history of the expansion of the universe. The survey confirms earlier discoveries that the expansion of the universe proceeded more slowly in the past and is speeding up today, apparently driven by some unknown form of energy. Since scientists don't know much about this mysterious new form of energy, they call it "dark energy."

The researchers made their discovery using an innovative, 340-million pixel camera called Megacam, built by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and the French atomic energy agency, Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique. "Because of its wide field of view - you can fit four full moons in an image - it allows us to measure simultaneously, and very precisely, several supernovae, which are rare events," said Pierre Astier, one of the scientists with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in France.

"Improved observations of distant supernovae are the most immediate way in which we can learn more about the mysterious dark energy," adds Richard Ellis, professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. "This study is a very big step forward in quantity and quality."

Study co-author Saul Perlmutter, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says the findings kick off a dramatic new generation of cosmology work using supernovae. "The data is more beautiful than we could have imagined 10 years ago - a real tribute to the instrument builders, the analysis teams and the large scientific vision of the Canadian and French science communities."

The SNLS is a collaborative international effort that uses images from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, a 3.6-metre telescope atop Mauna Kea, a dormant Hawaiian volcano. The current results are based on about 20 nights of data, the first of over nearly 200 nights of observing time for this project. The researchers identify the few dozen bright pixels in the 340 million to find distant supernovae. They acquire spectra using some of the largest telescopes on Earth-the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea, the Gemini South Telescope on the Cerro Pachón mountain in the Chilean Andes, the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescopes (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Atacama, Chile, and the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea.

In the UK the work has been done by Dr Isobel Hook and her student, Justin Bronder, in Oxford. Their focus has been on obtaining spectra with Gemini to measure redshifts and confirm the supernova types. Only certain types of supernovae are useful for cosmology, namely those classed as "Type Ia" which they identify by particular signatures in their spectra.

The "queue" observing mode used at Gemini and VLT is ideal for this project. When they find good supernova candidates from CFHT they send instructions over the internet to the staff at Gemini and VLT, and they take data for them when the weather conditions are right for the program. The instruments used on the Gemini telescopes for this project are the GMOS - the Gemini Multi-object spectrographs - built in the UK (by the UKATC and University of Durham) and Canada.

"Only the world's largest optical telescopes - with diameters of eight to 10 metres - are capable of studying distant supernovae in detail by examining the spectrum," said Dr Isobel Hook.

The current paper is based on about one-tenth of the imaging data that will be obtained by the end of the survey. Future results are expected to double or even triple the precision of these findings and conclusively solve several remaining mysteries about the nature of dark energy.

The research was funded by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers du CNRS, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Research Council of Canada's Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, the Gemini Observatory, the W. M. Keck Observatory and the European Southern Observatory.


[I left out the credits, contact info, and other links at the end of the article.]


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: cosmology; physics; science; stringtheory
Everyone needs a hobby. Mine is the universe.
1 posted on 11/24/2005 10:08:27 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
SciencePing
An elite subset of the Evolution list.
See the list's explanation at my freeper homepage.
Then FReepmail to be added or dropped.

2 posted on 11/24/2005 10:09:01 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, dotard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Isn`t dark energy what the Clintons use?


3 posted on 11/24/2005 10:11:30 AM PST by WillamShakespeare (What is a John Kerry?)
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To: PatrickHenry

This stuff sounds too complicated. I think we should just give up and say we weren't meant to understand it.


4 posted on 11/24/2005 10:11:44 AM PST by gondramB
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To: PatrickHenry

I wonder what Tesla would have to say about this!!!

;-)


5 posted on 11/24/2005 10:13:02 AM PST by TitansAFC ("'C' is for 'cookie,' that's good enough for me" -- C. Monster)
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To: PatrickHenry

Oh NOOOOOOOOOO ..... everything's changed, once again


6 posted on 11/24/2005 10:14:21 AM PST by Mr_Moonlight
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To: PatrickHenry
Well, as long as we're living here, we might as well check out the neighborhood...

7 posted on 11/24/2005 10:15:30 AM PST by frankenMonkey (Name one civil liberty that was not paid for in blood)
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To: PatrickHenry
Something is wrong with a (cosmological) theory that requires 909% of the universe mass, and most of its energy to be "invisible" and impossible to see.

Worse, when such a theory comes about ONLY because the "math" is more "pure" and simplistic BECAUSE of the imposition/creation of "dark matter" and (now) "dark energy."

Even "pure magic" is more tangible that THAT.

What's next: Adding the mass of the angels to make up the ratios of the expansion numbers? 8<)
8 posted on 11/24/2005 10:17:33 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (-I contribute to FR monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS supports Hillary's Secular Sexual Socialism every day.)
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To: PatrickHenry

hmmmmmm sounds to me like just another phrase for gravity.


9 posted on 11/24/2005 10:17:56 AM PST by AZRepublican
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To: gondramB
This stuff sounds [way] too complicated.

I know it is, for me. How one can explore the nature of the universe by means of mathematical equations beats me.

10 posted on 11/24/2005 10:22:36 AM PST by luvbach1 (Near the belly of the beast in San Diego)
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To: PatrickHenry

What a great hobby. So what is dark matter, anyway?


11 posted on 11/24/2005 10:24:44 AM PST by brivette
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To: frankenMonkey
Klingons on the starboard bow...scrape 'em off, Jim, scrape 'em off!

Come over to the dark side, luke...

(couldn't resist)

12 posted on 11/24/2005 10:24:45 AM PST by patton ("Hard Drive Cemetary" - forthcoming best seller)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

light or dark angels?


13 posted on 11/24/2005 10:26:05 AM PST by patton ("Hard Drive Cemetary" - forthcoming best seller)
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To: AZRepublican
Hardest question I ever heard -

"What _is_ gravity?"

14 posted on 11/24/2005 10:26:57 AM PST by patton ("Hard Drive Cemetary" - forthcoming best seller)
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To: patton; sionnsar

Well, since it's acutely clear that you can always get more light angles to dance on the head of a pin than dark (matter-enhanced) angles, its obvious that the missing angels are in Hell.

Which, clearly, is long since frozen over, since lighter matter emits rays.


15 posted on 11/24/2005 10:31:14 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (-I contribute to FR monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS supports Hillary's Secular Sexual Socialism every day.)
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To: brivette
With this announcement there isn't anymore dark matter. There is an actual acceleration constant.

No word on the big problem with this.

If there was a big bang, with this constant we would eventually fly apart in all directions.
16 posted on 11/24/2005 10:32:42 AM PST by dila813
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
so electrons dont vibrate in the dark?

the angles in your post are hilarious. Non euclidean, even. Or are the non-newtonian, in an einstein sort of way?

17 posted on 11/24/2005 10:35:11 AM PST by patton ("Hard Drive Cemetary" - forthcoming best seller)
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To: PatrickHenry

I love this stuff. After you eat that big turkey dinner tonight ... sit back and ponder STRING THEORY, the theory of everything ... now that is a mind blower.


18 posted on 11/24/2005 10:44:21 AM PST by MaDeuce (Do it to them, before they do it to you!)
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To: frankenMonkey
Well, as long as we're living here, we might as well check out the neighborhood...

Well said!

19 posted on 11/24/2005 10:52:39 AM PST by Professional Engineer (My name is Ralph.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Note that this finding required the efforts of large teams literaly all across the globe. Although we may lament the decline of American leadership in science, the reality is, the scale and scope of major scientific projects in the future will require such massive international collaboration. Not only are the days of the lone experimenter a la Faraday are over, so are the days of the lone research team.


20 posted on 11/24/2005 11:08:41 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Free the Crevo Three!)
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To: RightWingAtheist
Not only are the days of the lone experimenter a la Faraday are over, so are the days of the lone research team.

So they say. Just you wait until I announce my anti-gravity powered, perpetual motion, FTL drive & time machine that I've been working on -- alone! -- in my la-BOR-a-tory.

21 posted on 11/24/2005 11:14:54 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, dotard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: RightWingAtheist
Not only are the days of the lone experimenter a la Faraday are over, so are the days of the lone research team.

Only in cosmology and high-energy physics.

Cheers!

22 posted on 11/24/2005 11:15:07 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Yes, I agree, the model is screwy. Ill accept a certain amount of weirdness- the dead/alive quantum cat in the box, but like you say, 90% of the universe's mass invisible. That should send up a cosmological red flag. The Chinese say that confusion is the first step to wisdom, so this is a good thing.


23 posted on 11/24/2005 11:21:59 AM PST by emiller
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To: PatrickHenry
You so-called reality-based community members aren't :-)
24 posted on 11/24/2005 11:22:49 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Free the Crevo Three!)
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To: MaDuce

After pondering string theory for awhile, I realized it wasn't worth pondering.


25 posted on 11/24/2005 11:27:44 AM PST by flashbunny (To err is human. But to really screw something up, have the government try to fix it.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Just make sure you are saved by the blood of Jesus, and obey His commandments. Then you will have the mind of God throughout eternity, and have a detailed understanding of how all this stuff works.


26 posted on 11/24/2005 11:45:58 AM PST by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (My Homeland Security: Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper)
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To: PatrickHenry

You dont know the power of the dark side

27 posted on 11/24/2005 11:58:15 AM PST by irons_player
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To: emiller

Have you ever wondered if the CAT in the box wonders if YOU exist? Esp at FEEDING TIME? Really though, your questions are answered at cheniere.org as to vacuum energy and how its tapped by the MEG. If you want to hear how time and gravity are over running matter wave energy I can fill in the blanks for you. W=P


28 posted on 11/24/2005 12:16:18 PM PST by timer
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To: PatrickHenry

What is it about dark matter that exists only in the deepest recesses of the universe? Like superstrings in multi-dimesional matrices, energertically closed to us here and now. Very compelling. Though theory without experiment remains theory.


29 posted on 11/24/2005 12:24:43 PM PST by onedoug
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To: PatrickHenry
Aww...Crap!!! I think I almost understood this one!

I was hoping in my older age, I would not find this interesting.

30 posted on 11/24/2005 12:29:27 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum (I'm not a curmudgeon!!!! I've just been in a bad mood since '73)
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To: PatrickHenry

Fudge is dark. Dark matter + dark energy = fudge factor.


31 posted on 11/24/2005 12:43:15 PM PST by Grut
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To: onedoug
Though theory without experiment remains theory.

And theory with experiment (or observation of a predicted phenomenon) remains theory. Although, the more supporting experiments and observations there are, the more confidence we have in the theory.

32 posted on 11/24/2005 1:41:05 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, dotard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


33 posted on 11/24/2005 7:36:13 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: PatrickHenry

Dark energy is what everybody feels in the morning when they don't want to get up and go to work. Out in space there is more of it because God's work isn't done...


34 posted on 11/24/2005 9:01:46 PM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: PatrickHenry

Ironic, because Einstein called the cosmological constant the biggest mistake of his career.


35 posted on 11/24/2005 9:06:27 PM PST by Liberal Classic (No better friend, no worse enemy. Semper Fi.)
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To: luvbach1
How one can explore the nature of the universe by means of mathematical equations beats me.

Are you kidding? Have you ever taken a calculus class? Just curious...

36 posted on 11/24/2005 9:07:10 PM PST by phantomworker (We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. Perception is everything.)
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To: phantomworker
Are you kidding? Have you ever taken a calculus class? Just curious.

No and no. Are you?

37 posted on 11/25/2005 7:39:04 AM PST by luvbach1 (Near the belly of the beast in San Diego)
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To: luvbach1
Are you kidding? Have you ever taken a calculus class? Just curious. No and no. Are you?

I'm just saying, there is so much more to math than just algebra. If you ever get a chance, take some calculus classes or real analysis. Higher math really can describe the universe!

38 posted on 11/25/2005 8:30:42 AM PST by phantomworker (We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. Perception is everything.)
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To: PatrickHenry
"...the more confidence we have in the theory."

Admittedly, there does seem some probability that we're not actually here, communicating. But....

39 posted on 11/25/2005 1:31:33 PM PST by onedoug
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To: PatrickHenry; Alamo-Girl
Einstein has grown much wiser since going to visit Jesus..
How do I know that.?.. Trust me..
40 posted on 11/25/2005 1:41:36 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: phantomworker
Higher math really can describe the universe!

Never doubted that it can. I just don't have the mind for higher math so won't be taking any classes. My aptitude is verbal.

41 posted on 11/25/2005 2:44:54 PM PST by luvbach1 (Near the belly of the beast in San Diego)
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Placemarker and access to: (1) The List-O-Links, (2) How to argue against a scientific theory, and (3) the Evolution Troll's Toolkit.
Another service of Darwin Central, the conspiracy that cares.
42 posted on 11/25/2005 6:47:31 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, dotard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: hosepipe

Indeed. I'm sure he has!


43 posted on 11/25/2005 10:06:39 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: PatrickHenry

bttt


44 posted on 11/25/2005 10:19:10 PM PST by Pagey (The Clintons ARE the true definition of the word WRETCHED!)
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To: PatrickHenry
So they say. Just you wait until I announce my anti-gravity powered, perpetual motion, FTL drive & time machine that I've been working on -- alone! -- in my la-BOR-a-tory.

I'm already tuned in to Art Bell and George Noury just in case :-)

45 posted on 11/25/2005 10:29:08 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: PatrickHenry; SirKit

46 posted on 11/25/2005 10:31:59 PM PST by SuziQ
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