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February 07, 2011

Quintessence

Quintessence is said to be some sort of 'mysterious' energy that is powering the expansion of the universe at an accelerated rate. The velocity of the expansion of the universe is measured by observing the brightness of supernovae and measuring their red shift. Recent observations have shown that the universe is in fact (according to certain observations) accelerating contrary to the popular belief that it was decelerating. The idea that the universe is slowly decelerating due to the increased gravitational pull of the matter within it possibly resulting in the collapsing of the universe onto itself is disproved by this idea of Quintessence.
Heres the link:-
http://www.astronomytoday.com/cosmology/quintessence.html

Posted by jnana at February 7, 2011 05:33 PM

Comments

This was a very interesting article. I think it's cool that we are able to see that the universe is accelerating by measuring the stars' red shift. Good thing the universe isn't going to collapse onto itself. I can't wait to see what new information our technology will bring us in the future.

Posted by: kcwikiel at February 7, 2011 08:35 PM

Some of the largest astronomy projects are being built to search for this Quntessence. Currently, we think that this Dark Energy might be a constant value (Quintessence is a dark energy with an amount that varies in time).

The trick for this kind of science is to find standard rulers or standard lightbulbs in space. These rulers/lightbulbs have known sizes/brightnesses, and so we can observe them and predict how far away they are. For instance, suppose you know that lightbulb across the street is 100Watts. You could measure its brightness from your house and calculate the distance. Smilarly, if you see an apple through your neighbor's window, you can estimate how far away it is to that window since you know the real size of an apple and the measured size as you view it from your house.

We astronomers are working hard to find and understand the Universe's standard rulers and candles.

Posted by: christoq at February 8, 2011 10:07 AM

This is really interesting! I have always wondered about how to measure the expansion of the universe; Professor Gerdes in the Physics department is doing research in this field and the contradiction with Quintessence and dark energy is a real barrier.

Posted by: aarthi at February 13, 2011 05:58 PM

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