[Marxism] Fwd: Explainer: the mysterious dark energy that speeds the universe's rate of expansion

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 24 05:51:48 MDT 2015

The nature of dark energy is one of the most important unsolved problems 
in all of science. But what, exactly, is dark energy, and why do we even 
believe that it exists?

Step back a minute and consider a more familiar experience: what happens 
when you toss a ball straight up into the air? It gradually slows down 
as gravity tugs on it, finally stopping in mid-air and falling back to 
the ground. Of course, if you threw the ball hard enough (about 25,000 
miles per hour) it would actually escape from the Earth entirely and 
shoot into space, never to return. But even in that case, gravity would 
continue to pull feebly on the ball, slowing its speed as it escaped the 
clutches of the Earth.

But now imagine something completely different. Suppose that you tossed 
a ball into the air, and instead of being attracted back to the ground, 
the ball was repelled by the Earth and blasted faster and faster into 
the sky. This would be an astonishing event, but it’s exactly what 
astronomers have observed happening to the entire universe!


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