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The Universe 'will Expand Forever', New Nasa Study on 'dark Energy' Concludes 

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Old 08-20-2010, 02:19 PM
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The Universe 'will Expand Forever', New Nasa Study on 'dark Energy' Concludes

The universe 'will expand forever', new Nasa study on 'dark energy' concludes

The universe will continue to expand forever, Nasa scientists concluded in a new study that sheds light on one of the greatest astronomical puzzles, “dark energy”.


The massive gravitational force of the dark matter (shown in blue) in giant galaxy cluster Abell 1689 bends the light from distant background galaxies, giving astronomers clues to the nature of dark energy. Photo: NASA/ JPL

Space agency researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to “narrow in” on what they believe comprises the energy, which pushes our universe apart at ever-increasing speed.

Discovered in 1998, astronomers have been unable to say what the mysterious force is, except that it is invisible and makes up a “large chunk of our universe”, or 72 per cent of its size.

Almost a quarter, 24 per cent, is thought to be "dark matter", which is also mysterious but easier to study than dark energy because of its “gravitational influence”.

The rest of the universe, a mere four per cent, is made of “the stuff that makes up people, planets, stars and everything made up of atoms”.

By using the huge “galactic magnifying lens” the international team of scientists, led by Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, concluded the distribution of dark energy would mean the universe would never stop growing.

The study, published in the journal Science on Thursday, also found it would eventually become a dead and cold wasteland.

The scientists used Hubble and European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope to observe how light from distant stars became distorted around a nearby cluster of galaxies called Abell 1689.

The galaxies, found in the constellation of Virgo, is one of the biggest galactic clusters known to science.

Due to its huge mass, scientists say it “acts as a cosmic magnifying glass”, causing light to bend around it.

"We have to tackle the dark energy problem from all sides," said Prof Eric Jullo, a JPL scientist who led the international study.

"It's important to have several methods, and now we've got a new, very powerful one.

"What I like about our new method is that it's very visual. You can literally see gravitation and dark energy bend the images of the background galaxies into arcs.”

He said the study’s conclusion meant scientists could say for the first time that the expansion of the universe “will continue to accelerate and the universe will expand forever”.

Priya Natarajan, a cosmologist at Yale University, who was part of the team, added: “We can now apply our technique to other gravitational lenses.

Source 19/08/10

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Old 08-21-2010, 12:54 PM
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Re: The Universe 'will Expand Forever', New Nasa Study on 'dark Energy' Concludes

i read about this on the bbc site the other day

Quote:
A "galactic lens" has revealed that the Universe will probably expand forever.

Astronomers used the way that light from distant stars was distorted by a huge galactic cluster known as Abell 1689 to work out the amount of dark energy in the cosmos.

Dark energy is a mysterious force that speeds up the expansion of the Universe.

Understanding the distribution of this force revealed that the likely fate of the Universe was to keep on expanding.

It will eventually become a cold, dead wasteland, researchers say.

The study, conducted by an international team led by Professor Eric Jullo of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, is published in the journal Science.

Dark energy makes up three-quarters of our Universe but is totally invisible. We only know it exists because of its effect on the expansion of the Universe.

To work out how dark energy is spread through space, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the way that light from distant stars was distorted around Abell 1689, a nearby cluster of galaxies.

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Light bends around massive galaxy clusters, allowing distant objects to be seen

Abell 1689, found in the constellation of Virgo, is one of the biggest galactic clusters known to science.

Because of its huge mass, the cluster acts as a cosmic magnifying glass, causing light to bend around it.

The way in which light is distorted by this cosmic lens depends on three factors: how far away the distant object is; the mass of Abell 1689; and the distribution of dark energy.

The astronomers were able to measure the first two variables using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, enabling them to calculate this crucial third factor.

Cold comfort

Knowing the distribution of dark energy tells astronomers that the Universe will continue to get bigger indefinitely.

Eventually it will become a cold, dead wasteland with a temperature approaching what scientists term "absolute zero".

Professor Priyamvada Natarajan of Yale University, a leading cosmologist and co-author of this study, said that the findings finally proved "exactly what the fate of the Universe will be".
source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11030889

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Old 08-21-2010, 04:25 PM
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Re: The Universe 'will Expand Forever', New Nasa Study on 'dark Energy' Concludes

Professor Priyamvada Natarajan of Yale University, a leading cosmologist and co-author of this study, said that the findings finally proved "exactly what the fate of the Universe will be".
Did he say that with a straight face. I couldnt read it without one
They cant even agree how old the universe is, or what over half of it is made from.

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Old 08-21-2010, 06:22 PM
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Re: The Universe 'will Expand Forever', New Nasa Study on 'dark Energy' Concludes

Quote:
Originally Posted by aintthatathing View Post
Professor Priyamvada Natarajan of Yale University, a leading cosmologist and co-author of this study, said that the findings finally proved "exactly what the fate of the Universe will be".
Did he say that with a straight face. I couldnt read it without one
They cant even agree how old the universe is, or what over half of it is made from.
But that's not to say they don't know its ultimate fate!

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