Anomalies in the Standard Model of Cosmology

Dark Energy Research

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analyzing data from the Planck satellite mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Their results demonstrate that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent description of the universe. Yet when the Planck data is combined with other astronomical observations, several deviations emerge. Read More →

Cosmic Battle and the Future of the Universe

Cosmologists use galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to study the nature of dark energy – CREDIT: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Cosmologists use galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to study the nature of dark energy – CREDIT: Sloan Digital Sky Survey

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our universe might be. Researchers in Portsmouth and Rome have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy. A cosmic battle of sorts.

Read More →

What White Dwarfs Can Tell Us About the Universe

Birth of a white dwarf (bright spot at the center) in the Dumbbell Nebula./ Credit: Telescopio Joan Oro - Observatori Astronomic del Montsec

Birth of a white dwarf (bright spot at the center) in the Dumbbell Nebula./ Credit: Telescopio Joan Oro – Observatori Astronomic del Montsec

Researchers from Europe and the U.S. have ruled out a multitude of possible parameters for dark photons – a type of dark matter and energy – with the help of white dwarfs. In some aspects, the shining of these dying stars gives more information on dark forces than is provided by earth-based laboratories. The journal ‘Physical Review D’ has published the study [citation below]. Read More →

Honing in on Dark Energy & Neutrinos

Analysis of data from the 10-meter South Pole Telescope is providing new support for the most widely accepted explanation of dark energy — the source of the mysterious force that is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe.The results also are beginning to hone in on the masses of neutrinos, the most abundant particles in the universe, which until recently were thought to be without mass.

The data strongly support the leading model for dark energy, Albert Einstein’s cosmological constant — a slight modification to his theory of general relativity — even though the analysis was based on only a fraction of the SPT data collected and only 100 of the more than 500 galaxy clusters detected so far. Read More →

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Overview

At its completion in 2016, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will provide the largest ever survey of the night sky. It will deliver 30 terabytes of data each night. LSST will consist of an 8.4 meter telescope and the 3.2 billion pixel camera. Astronomers hope the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will deliver 5.6 million 15 second images over its ten year lifetime. The images will then be cataloged and made available for viewing by both the public and researchers.  Astronomers hope these images will allow them to create a 3D map of the universe. In addition, they hope it will greatly increase their understanding of dark matter and dark energy.

The location was carefully chosen after much debate. The location has an altitude of 2,715 meters above sea level. The mountain is known to have some of the darkest skies in the world. The area has very little rainfall and one of the most stable environments on Earth. A stable atmosphere with a large number of clear nights will greatly assist astronomers in collecting data. The Cerro Pachon Mountain is currently home to the Gemini South Telescope and the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope. The planned location is just northwest of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

Be back tomorrow with a little information on another amazing endeavor – ESA’s Gaia project!

Reference:

The New Sky | LSST. (n.d.). Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.lsst.org/lsst/