Why is the Universe expanding faster

9 Sep 2013

This story can be found at http://phys.org/print297435137.html ... and this time it is UK scientists in the chase (based at an observatory in Chile). The 'Dark Energy Survey' is just commencing so no conclusions as yet but the title is the name of the game - finding out why the universe seems to be accelerating instead of closing down due to gravity. The side dish to the plate is to probe the mystery of dark energy, the force that is widely held to be powering the acceleration, overriding gravity. The survey follows ten years in the planning stage and involves 25 institutions in 6 countries. According to Dr David Bacon, 'we know dark energy exists but that's about it. How this substance changes with time and location remains unclear but we'll have a better view after (the survey)'.

It is therefore a well planned object and an important one, as far as cosmology is concerned, and involves a 570 megapixel digital camera built at Fermilab in Illinois. The lenses, each costing a million pounds apiece, are capable of seeing 100,000 galaxies up to 8 billion light years away. However, the survey will not actually see dark energy but they will be able to study the exapansion rate of the universe and how quickly structures grow - and infer dark energy to greater precision.