The Invisible Universe: Welcome to the Dark Side
Saturday/December/26 2009 Filed in: Science / Technology
The universe used to be easy to understand
Aristotle explained that Earth was the center of all. The Sun, the Moon and stars were all subordinate to terra firma.
Then Copernicus changed the paradigm, declaring the sun was the hub of everything
At the beginning of the 20th century, astronomers believed that the galaxy we now call the Milky Way was all there was of the universe.
But by the Roaring 20's, the perspective shifted again.
The Milky Way was just one of a seemingly countless number of galaxies and star clusters.
With each change in point of view, the prestige of Earth and its human inhabitants has been diminished.
The universe no longer revolves around us, around our sun or even our galaxy.
But now comes the biggest shock to our Earthly ego.
Everything we ever thought existed accounts for less than 5% of all that scientists believe that there is. And the bulk of that is just thought now to be intergalactic gas.
Of the now perceived universe, all the stars, planets, moons, meteors and comets make up less than one half of 1%.
If this is true, the entire cosmos as we know it is no more than rounding error.
What lies behind the visible universe that we know is the dark side. The mysterious world of Dark Matter and the even more perplexing realm of Dark Energy.
Like the Force in the world of Star Wars, dark matter both binds the universe together but at the same time adds an unseen heft that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of the cosmos.
Dark Energy: The Mind of God?
And if that isn't strange enough, dark energy is the invisible elephant in the room that accounts for possibly three-fourths of all that is.
What is dark energy?
Scientists can't begin to guess...