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Dark Matter and Dark Energy

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Ryan Bowers

on 29 February 2012

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Transcript of Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Dark Matter and Dark Energy Ten years ago, dark matter was laughed at and the concept of dark energy was practically nonexistent in the scientific community. Now however, we believe both exist, and the hunt is on to find what they are, where they are, and what their impact on the Universe is Dark matter is matter that cannot be detected through direct observation.
it doesn't radiate light or any other EM wave
it doesn't reflect any EM radiation
it can only be detected through indirect methods We detect dark matter through "missing mass" observations. The most common of these is the rotation speed of galaxies, which rotate much faster than they should. Another method of detecting dark matter is using the effect of gravitational lensing, which distorts the view of stars behind a high mass object. Interestingly, as scientists map out dark matter in our universe, we've found that dark matter actually has a regular pattern in its structure. What is dark matter? At first it was thought to be black holes, neutron stars, and other high mass objects that were difficult or impossible to detect. We now know that these objects don't appear frequently enough to constitute all of the dark matter in the Universe. Neutrinos were considered, but are too light to have the effect we've seen dark matter to produce. We now are searching for evidence of WIMPs that we belive to be dark matter. Even more mysterious than dark matter is dark energy. We know dark matter exists, and even have mapped it out, but we don't have any idea about what dark energy is, where it's found, or how to detect it. The only thing we can be sure of is that it is there. Dark energy is used to explain the increase in the expansion of the Universe since the Big Bang. At the moment of the Big Bang, the Universe went through a period known as inflation, which lasted a fraction of a second. During this time, it expanded at a rate vastly exceeding the speed of light. Gravity soon slowed the Universe down, and should still be doing so. However, scientists have noticed that the speed of expansion in the Universe has increased over the last few billion years without any explanation. Nothing we know of could cause this, so we have given the name of dark energy to this mysterious force. We are still searching today for evidence of dark matter and dark energy. We currlently have detectors designed to look for WIMPs, and are expecting results very soon. As for dark energy, well... someone will figure it out eventually. We could have answers in the next couple of years as to what our Universe is truly made of.
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