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The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals. physicist Albert. A. Michelson, 1894

1. MOST OF THE UNIVERSE IS MISSING Previous | Next

We can only account for 4 per cent of the cosmos

IN 1997, astronomers discovered that the universe is expanding at ever faster speeds. No one knows why this should be: until that point, everyone assumed the universe's expansion would be slowing down after the big bang. The best explanation we have – that some mysterious thing called “dark energy” is causing the accelerated expansion – is no explanation at all because we have no idea what this dark energy actually is.

We can say the same about “dark matter”. If you take our best understanding of gravity, apply it to the way galaxies spin, and you'll quickly see the problem: the galaxies should be falling apart. Galactic matter orbits around a central point because its mutual gravitational attraction creates centripetal forces. But there is not enough mass in the galaxies to produce the observed spin. The best response from physicists is to suggest there is more stuff out there than we can see, and that the gravity of this stuff is holding everything together. Just as they called the mysterious accelerating stuff dark energy, they call this mysterious gravitating stuff dark matter. We’ve been searching for dark matter for decades now, but we still have no idea what it might be.

That may be because dark energy and dark matter, which together seem to make up 96 per cent of the universe’s contents, might be a cosmic mirage. We may find out that the dark energy vanishes in a puff of logic when we rid our mathematics of certain assumptions – such as the assumption that the universe is the same in every direction. Dark matter might be a result of us not quite understanding how gravity works. The issue is still wide open.

First Previous 1 2 Next Last 
Subject User Posted No of Posts Last Post
MOST OF THE UNIVERSE IS MISSING realee 06/09/2008 21:36 1 06/09/2008 21:36
A good month for Dark Matter Michael Brooks 05/09/2008 17:22 1 05/09/2008 17:22
How can a finite mind comprehend the infinite ? Rhinus 25/08/2008 21:27 1 25/08/2008 21:27
MOST OF THE UNIVERSE IS MISSING Phil 06/08/2008 18:49 11 25/08/2008 19:26
MOST OF THE UNIVERSE IS MISSING mozilla 10/08/2008 22:34 2 25/08/2008 12:57
Inverse Square Field Law Modification scott712 21/08/2008 19:16 1 21/08/2008 19:16
Expanding Universe & Gravitational Repulsion scott712 20/08/2008 04:29 1 20/08/2008 04:29
Heliosphere Missions Markus Demetrius 11/08/2008 01:51 2 12/08/2008 00:32
Point of Reference pieinthesky 11/08/2008 16:11 1 11/08/2008 16:11
You were told to study this - yet this is much bigger redpill 10/08/2008 14:27 4 11/08/2008 16:09
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