Dark energy evidence found to be uncertain

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The uncertainty of science: Astronomers have discovered that the type of supernovae they have used as a standard to measure the accelerating expansion of the universe, which also is evidence for the existence of dark energy, are actually made up of two different types.

The authors conclude that some of the reported acceleration of the universe can be explained by color differences between the two groups of supernovae, leaving less acceleration than initially reported. This would, in turn, require less dark energy than currently assumed. “We’re proposing that our data suggest there might be less dark energy than textbook knowledge, but we can’t put a number on it,” Milne said. “Until our paper, the two populations of supernovae were treated as the same population. To get that final answer, you need to do all that work again, separately for the red and for the blue population.”

The authors pointed out that more data have to be collected before scientists can understand the impact on current measures of dark energy.

It has always bothered me that the evidence for dark energy was based entirely on measurements of type 1a supernovae from extremely far away and billions of years ago. Not only was that a different time in the universe’s history when conditions could be different, our actual understanding of those supernovae themselves is very tenuous. We really do not have a full understanding of what causes them, or how they even happen. To then assume that these distant explosions are all so similar that their brightness can be used as a “standard” seems untrustworthy. From my perspective, the conclusions, though interesting, are being pushed based on extremely weak data.

The research at the link illustrates just how weak that data was.



  • mpthompson

    Hmmm. Good thing science isn’t governed by consensus, eh?

  • Steven Mackelprang

    Halton Arp was dismissed by the maintstream, but he called into question our interpretation of red shift years ago, and documented the reasons why. If our understanding of red shift is wrong, then all the assumptions of how old and how fast the universe is expanding are out the window. His books are available and are very interesting.

  • D.K. Williams

    This illustrates that scientists too often treat educated guesses as facts. It occurs frequently in cosmology when much theorizing rests on assumptions about data.

  • PeterF

    Wait. What? The primary data that spawned the “Big Bang Theory” might be flawed? Say it ain’t so! If that was true then just about every new observation made would cause an “adjustment” to the theory, or the data would have to be “adjusted” to fit the theory.
    But I’ve always been told that a consensus of 97% of scientists agree that the theory is a true model…

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