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Dark Energy

February 2, 2006

One listener asked about the mysterious-sounding force in the universe called dark energy, and we have the answer.


A mysterious force in the universe. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Vince Stricherz of Seattle heard about dark energy and wants to know what it is. Well, Vince, astronomers still don’t know, but they have strong evidence that it’s there. Ron Remillard of M-I-T says, for one thing, the universe is expanding at a faster rate than astronomers can account for, meaning something must be working against gravity.

One way of thinking about this extra expansion is to think that, well, the stuff that’s blowing up has too much energy—or there’s some bit of too much energy in the system.

And so this mysterious anti-gravity force is what astronomers have come to call "dark energy."

If you have an obscure science question, call us at 1-800-why-isit. If we use it on the air, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science