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Mysterious Dark Energy May Not Exist In The Universe After All, Scientists Claim

First Posted: Oct 26, 2016 05:29 AM EDT

It seems that mysterious dark energy in the cosmos may not exist after all because according to a new study the universe is not expanding at an accelerating rate. The recent study suggests that the universe is actually expanding at a constant rate.

Five years ago, three astronomers had received a Nobel Prize for their discovery that the universe is going through an accelerating expansion. The astronomers had based the conclusion on the study of Type Ia supernovae, a brilliant thermonuclear burst of dying stars which was seen through the Hubble space telescope and other huge ground based telescopes. The observation led to the worldwide acceptance of the theory that the cosmos is dominated by a mysterious state called dark energy that propels the accelerating expansion.

However, now, a research team led by Subir Sarkar of UK's Oxford University has conducted a study using data from a catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae that doubts the accelerated expansion of the universe and therefore the existence of dark matter. According to Sarkar, though the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate won a Nobel Prize for the scientists who suggested it, and also led to the widespread acceptance that dark energy dominates the universe, "All of these tests are indirect, carried out in the framework of an assumed model, and the cosmic microwave background is not directly affected by dark energy." The scientist further adds that is it quite natural that "we are being misled and that the apparent manifestation of dark energy is a result of analyzing the data in an oversimplified theoretical model - one that was actually constructed in the 1930s," which was long before any actual data was available.

The researching team also suggested that a more intricate theoretical framework that accounts for two important assumptions of standard cosmology, i.e. the universe is not really homogenous and its matter content may not act as an ideal gas, could also explain all the observations without having to resort to dark energy. However, the new study has met with its share of criticisms, and astrophysicist Paul Sutter compared it to an "interesting nuts-and-bolts methodology paper" that can't actually shake the foundations of modern cosmology.

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