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The uncertainty of science: A new model for the universe that omits dark energy produces a better fit to what is know than previous theories that included it.
The new theory, dubbed timescape cosmology, includes the known lumpiness of the universe, while the older traditional models that require dark energy do not.
Timescape cosmology has no dark energy. Instead, it includes variations in the effects of gravity caused by the lumpiness in the structure in the universe. Clocks carried by observers in galaxies differ from the clock that best describes average expansion once variations within the universe (known as “inhomogeneity” in the trade) becomes significant. Whether or not one infers accelerating expansion then depends crucially on the clock used. “Timescape cosmology gives a slightly better fit to the largest supernova data catalogue than Lambda Cold Dark Matter cosmology,” says Wiltshire.
He admits the statistical evidence is not yet strong enough to definitively rule in favour of one model over the other, and adds that future missions such as the European Space Agency’s Euclid spacecraft will have the power to distinguish between differing cosmology models.
Both models rely on a very weak data set, based on assumptions about Type 1a supernovae that are likely wrong. It is thus likely that neither explains anything, as neither really has a good picture of the actual universe.