Ever since researchers first hypothesized the existence of a mysterious force known as dark energy in the mid-1990s, they’ve scrambled for proof that the force exists, and that it is indeed gradually causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate. Now, Hawaiian astronomers say they have found evidence of dark energy’s work by looking at microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang, and how it acts as it traverses strange regions of the universe.
The findings, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters [subscription required], focus on regions of space called superclusters, which are dense with galaxies, and supervoids, which are unusually empty of galaxies. “When a microwave enters a supercluster, it gains some gravitational energy and therefore vibrates slightly faster,” [lead researcher Istvan] Szapudi said. As it leaves the supercluster, he said, “it should lose exactly the amount of energy. “But if dark energy causes the universe to stretch out at a faster rate, the supercluster flattens out in the half-billion years it takes the microwave to cross it,” Szapudi said. “Thus, the wave gets to keep some of the energy as it entered the supercluster” [Honolulu Star-Bulletin].
Dark energy has been tagged as the culprit for the ever expanding universe recently in many scientific journals. Even one where manipulation of it can be used to power an “FTL” (faster than light) warp drive by creating a “bubble” around the spaceship ala Star Trek ( link ).
Whether humans can ever tap this energy in the future is another matter. Some say in the far future, some say never. But it never ceases being a controvertial thought exercise.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that marine fossil records show that biodiversity increases and decreases based on a 62-million-year cycle. At least two of the Earth’s great mass extinctions-the Permian extinction 250 million years ago and the Ordovician extinction about 450 million years ago-correspond with peaks of this cycle, which can’t be explained by evolutionary theory.
Early last year, a team of researchers at the University of Kansas came up with an out-of-this-world explanation for the phenomenon. Their idea hinges upon the fact that stars move through space and sometimes rush headlong through galaxies, or approach closely enough to cause a brief cosmic tryst.
Our own star moves toward and away from the Milky Way’s center, and also up and down through the galactic plane. One complete up-and-down cycle takes 64 million years- suspiciously close to the Earth’s biodiversity cycle.
Once the researchers independently confirmed the biodiversity cycle, they then proposed a novel mechanism whereby which the Sun’s galactic travels is causing it.
Since we are made of the stuff of the Universe, I have no problem with this theory. In fact, this goes along with many Vedic ( India ) and Native American cultures’ traditions that time is cyclic instead of linear, as it is postulated in Western scientific thought. One can Google up any article on Mayan culture and the ‘2012’ end of time date that is viral all over the ‘Tubes now. In fact, the Mayans never said it’s the end of the world, just the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It has been forever thus they claim.
Now we might have a little verification.