I missed the memo about Dark Energy.
This past week a trio of sexy uber-geeks were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their work which has advanced the understanding of a phenomenon called Dark Energy. Oversimplified, Dark Energy explains why it is that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace. There were some crazy sophisticated telescopes and supernovae involved in figuring this out, but since I was about a C+ physics student, I’ll tap out now in trying to explain it any further.
When I heard about Dark Energy, I kinda got the heebie jeebies. I mean, I’m already freaked out by entropy, so now I have to deal with the idea that not only are things falling apart, they’re falling apart faster than expected. Am I the only one who is totally freaked out by this?
The concept of Dark Energy invites the inevitable discussion of The Force, as in, “Use The Force, Luke.”
In the Star Wars mythology, The Force has a light side, a dark side and it holds the universe together, kind of like duct tape. Turns out the true state of cosmological affairs might not be too different from Star Wars. Gravity draws stuff together; Dark Energy pushes stuff apart. And apparently the universe is comprised of a whole lot of Dark Energy. No wonder I am so tired trying to keep body and soul together.
Another thing about Dark Energy that kind of rocked my world is that it apparently comprises three quarters of the universe, yet until a few years ago, no one knew it existed. Talk about your missed memos. The idea that something can be ubiquitous but somehow imperceptible is pretty trippy. But here’s the thing…maybe Dark Energy wasn’t discovered until recently because its existence doesn’t fit neatly into what we already understood about cosmology. It’s hard to see something that’s not supposed to exist, even if it’s right in front of your face. My brain isn’t wired to understand these things, but apparently the discovery of Dark Energy represents a revolutionary shift in the way we’re to understand the universe. I’m not sure what that means, but if permits the advent of teleportation technology like in Star Trek, then I’m totally down with it.
I’m not sure what my point is here, and maybe I don’t really have one. I’m just looking at the stars a little differently these days. And knowing that there’s a lot of dark energy out there makes me a little more grateful for the light. Stargazing, and memo received.