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Current Affairs

Dark energy

Date: 29 September 2021 Tags: Energy

Issue

For the first time ever, researchers have made direct detection of dark energy. Earlier, there were only certain clues about its existence.

 

Background

Dark energy is described as a form of energy that makes up about 68% of the universe. It has managed to intrigue scientists and astronomers from many years.

 

Details

  • Dark energy signs were found when certain unexpected results were obtained during XENON1T experiment.

  • The XENON1T experiment is an underground experiment conducted at INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy. It is the most sensitive dark matter experiment and hence conducted deep underground.

  • The results are an indication that experiments designed to identify dark matter can also be used to detect dark energy.

 

Dark energy and dark matter

  • Dark matter makes up 27% of the universe and dark energy 68%. The things we see make up only 5% of all the matter in universe.

  • The dark matter is responsible for attracting and keeping galaxies together whereas dark energy repels to cause expansion of our universe.

  • Scientific community has more information about dark matter as it was conceptualized in 1920s whereas dark energy was discovered recently in 1998.

 

The discovery

  • Sometimes unexpected discoveries are made, which are considered flukes. The events that may have been due to background noise could be dark energy.

  • A screening mechanism known as chameleon was used. It could be used to show that dark energy particles produced in the Sun’s strong magnetic fields could explain the signal seen in XENON1T.

 

Direct detection

Upgrades to the XENON1T experiment and similar experiments such as LUX-Zeplin and PandaX-xT could help in directly detecting dark energy in upcoming days.