APR 10, 2017 9:12 AM PDT

The Universe Might Not Have Any Dark Energy After All

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The long-standing idea is that dark energy makes up at least 68% of the universe. It’s believed to help drive its expansion, filling in the gaps of unanswered questions that continue to riddle the world’s best astrophysicists.

On the other hand, new research suggests that dark energy is merely a lazy answer to dealing with the unanswered questions about our universe.

You might've heard astrophysicists talking about "dark energy" at one time or another, but new research refutes its very existence.

Image Credit: Skeeze/Pixabay

Published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary discuss how the dark energy theory most likely came about because we weren’t observing the data correctly in the first place.

While the research doesn’t argue the Big Bang Theory, or that the universe is indeed expanding, it does contend that said expansion isn’t necessarily being driven by dark energy. It also notes how it’s possible to calculate today’s universal expansion without even bringing dark energy into the equation to begin with.

Related: Scientists think this galaxy is mostly comprised of dark matter

It appears that approximations used in scientific theories that propagated the dark energy theory in the first place don’t take into account the structure of the universe, which is incredibly important if we’re to truly understand the way it expands, the researchers argue.

“Einstein’s equations of general relativity that describe the expansion of the universe are so complex mathematically, that for a hundred years no solutions accounting for the effect of cosmic structures have been found,” explained Dr László Dobos, a co-author of the study.

“We know from very precise supernova observations that the universe is accelerating, but at the same time we rely on coarse approximations to Einstein’s equations which may introduce serious side-effects, such as the need for dark energy, in the models designed to fit the observational data.”

While most models today assume that all matter in the universe has a uniform density, this is definitely not the case. All of the different things that exist in the universe today vary in density, ranging from stars, planets, dust, gas, and even incredibly-dense black holes.

Because some parts of the universe contain a greater number of denser objects to influence gravity than others do, the computer models illustrate certain regions of the universe expanding faster than others, which explains the differential expansion we have today.

The following animation illustrates that numerous models are in agreeance with this possible theory:

“The theory of general relativity is fundamental in understanding the way the universe evolves. We do not question its validity; we question the validity of the approximate solutions,” Dr Dobos continued.

“Our findings rely on a mathematical conjecture which permits the differential expansion of space, consistent with general relativity, and they show how the formation of complex structures of matter affects the expansion. These issues were previously swept under the rug but taking them into account can explain the acceleration without the need for dark energy.”

As it would certainly appear, dark energy was being used as an explanation for these kinds of miscalculated inconsistencies all this time, and if proven true, much of today’s astrophysical research would need to be double-checked.

Without a doubt, there appears to be a solid base to this research, but the same can be said about the other side. It should be very interesting to see what will come out of it all when all of the best minds in astrophysical research today come together and review all of the data.

Source: Royal Astronomical Society

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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