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New Study Unveils Possible Complexity of Dark Energy

A recent study suggests that dark energy could be Einstein's hypothesized vacuum energy or a more complex phenomenon evolving over time. The results have sparked discussions on the composition of the universe and the nature of dark energy.

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BNN Correspondents
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New Study Unveils Possible Complexity of Dark Energy

A recent study has unveiled the intricate nature of dark energy, hinting that it could be Einstein's hypothesized vacuum energy or an evolving phenomenon that has been changing over time. The findings, stemming from a more granular analysis of dark energy properties than ever before, have reopened the debate on the composition of the universe. Currently, it's believed that 'normal' matter makes up a mere 5% of the universe, 'dark matter' constitutes 25%, and the remaining 70% is 'dark energy'—the mysterious force driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.

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Dark Energy: Unraveling the Cosmic Enigma

Dark energy, first discovered in 1998, has long been associated with Einstein's cosmological constant, an idea the physicist himself initially discarded. To delve deeper into the nature of this enigmatic cosmic entity, astronomers rely on 'standard candles' like Type Ia supernovae. These exploding stars have a known brightness, enabling scientists to measure cosmic distances and, consequently, the properties of dark energy.

The Dark Energy Survey: A New Perspective

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The Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international research project involving over 400 scientists, utilized a custom-built camera on the Blanco Telescope in Chile and the Anglo Australian Telescope in New South Wales to observe and classify thousands of supernovae. This extensive survey has provided a fresh measurement of the dark energy density symbolized by 'w'. The latest findings show w = -0.80 ± 0.18, implying that it is close to but not exactly -1, the value for Einstein's cosmological constant. This unexpected result has sparked the possibility that dark energy might not be constant and could have evolved over the universe's lifetime.

Indications of a Complex Dark Energy Model

In a new twist to the cosmic saga, the findings suggest that our understanding of the universe might need to accommodate a more complex model of dark energy. The study found that if dark energy is constant, 'w' should be equal to –1. However, the DES results found w = –0.80, indicating a consistent yet not definitive result. This discovery challenges the prevailing understanding of dark energy and opens up the exciting possibility of new physics.

The DES, which has been analyzing nearly 1,500 supernovae over a decade, has provided groundbreaking insights into dark energy, which makes up approximately 70% of the universe. Future projects, such as the TiDES experiment, aim to further measure tens of thousands of supernovae to definitively determine the nature of dark energy.

Overall, this landmark study, with its implications shaking the foundations of our cosmological understanding, serves as a testament to the relentless human pursuit of knowledge about the universe's enigmatic constituents.

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