The Universe is an enigma that may never be completely understood. It’s strange and never-ending mysteries have eluded scientists for decades. However, we may now have discovered something that has the potential to answer them – Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
These two terms: Dark Matter and Dark Energy, play a huge role in explaining the evolution of the Universe and its possible future. We all know that the universe was created billions of years ago due to the Big Bang, and since then it has continued to expand, creating more space along its way. But, while scientists believed that gravity would eventually slow this process of expansion down until it stops, a strange phenomenon was observed. In the late ’90s, with the use of the Hubble Telescope it was discovered that instead of slowing down, the expansion of our universe was accelerating. Great debates were held, and while theorists can’t seem to figure out what causes this, they did manage to name a solution to it all: Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
What is Dark Matter and Dark Energy?
While we do know that they exist in some form or another, it has been difficult to define them. Its more accurate to say that today, we know more about what these things aren’t than what they are!
While Dark Matter does not absorb, reflect or emit light like normal particles, it does seem to affect the gravity around it. The normal matter in our galaxy isn’t sufficient enough for gravity to pull it all together. Dark Matter is one explanation for why our stars aren’t just scattered around in the cosmos, and perhaps it’s what holds galaxies together, allowing life to exist. Even though we can’t see it, it has been proven that certain areas of high Dark Matter concentration managed to bend the light around it. So it really isn’t a question of if it exists, but what its existence means.
On the other hand, scientists believe that Dark Energy is the reason that the expansion of the universe keeps accelerating. Einstein believed that space itself has its own properties and is capable of having its own energy. Dark Energy could very well be that energy. As the Universe expands, more space is created, thus more Dark Energy is formed, causing the universe to expand more, and the cycle continues.
All these theories are but postulations and the mystery of what Dark Energy and Dark Matter exactly are, baffles scientists to this day.
What does this mean for us?
Cosmology, the study of the Universe, considers Dark Matter and Dark Energy as one of the keys to understanding the cosmos. The way the matter reacts to its surroundings and influences space is still unexplained by any law of physics we know. Their understanding may lead to a new stage of human civilization and it may even shake the very foundation of physics as we know it.
The Universe could have easily followed many paths, all leading to its collapse or destruction in away. It is theorised that the presence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy in its exact amount, enables a god-like harmony that allows us to exist.
While you may think that Dark Matter and Dark Energy are some rare quantity and that this unusual phenomenon accounts for a tiny portion of the universe. But researchers have theorised that Dark Energy takes up 68% of the Universe and Dark Matter, 27%. What remains: i.e. the ‘normal’ matter in this universe, makes up a measly 5%. We might not be as ‘normal’ as we believe – probably the opposite is true!
A lot may not yet be known about Dark Matter and Dark Energy and what they do, but they probably play a huge part in shaping the Universe we live in today. Countless discoveries and inventions through the ages have added to our knowledge to such an extent that what once seemed fantasies or impossible are facts of life today.