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Dark energy is real, scientists argue - likelihood of existence 99.996 %
2012-09-17 0:00

By Chris Wickham | Reuters.com

Dark energy, the mysterious cosmic force thought to be the fuel behind the accelerating expansion of the universe, is real, according to an Anglo-German team of astronomers.

After a two-year study, scientists at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom and LMU University Munich in Germany have concluded that the likelihood of dark energy’s existence stands at 99.996 percent.

That’s the same level of certainty as this year’s celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson, or a subatomic particle that looks very much like it, by scientists at the CERN research center near Geneva.

Although accepted by many scientists as the best explanation for why the universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate, the theory of dark energy has its skeptics.

Astronomers studying the brightness of distant supernovae over a decade ago won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for their conclusion that the expansion of the universe was accelerating. But some scientists argue this is an illusion, caused by the relative movement of Earth in relation to the rest of the cosmos. Others suggest shortcomings in our understanding of gravity are more likely responsible than dark energy.


Read the full article at: reuters.com

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