'The end of the world.'
We will investigate the types of matter that is thought to dominate the observable universe, and some of their possible influences on the universal acceleration of expansion. Firstly, we will have a look at 'dark energy.'
Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy with a negative pressure that is thought to permeate spacetime. According to Einstienís theory of relativity, the effect of negative pressure is in opposition to gravitational force on massive and strong scales. It is believed by some that such a force maybe responsible for the universes evident accelerated expansion; which is ultimately indicating that our universe is dying!
Dark energy would make up the lions share of missing matter, making up about 74% of all matter in the vast universe. Two forms of dark energy are proposed as the 'cosmological constant,' a constant energy density filling spacetime homogeneously and there is 'quintessence', a dynamic field which has an energy density that can vary in space and time. It requires high-precision measurements to determine the exact speed of expansion.
During the 1990's, observations of type 'la supernovae' by the 'Supernova Cosmology Project' and the 'High-Z Supernova Search Team' have provided the suggestion that the universe is indeed accelerating - being backed up with several pieces of observable evidences which include measurements of the 'background microwaves', 'gravitational lensing' and improved measurements on observable supernovae have been consistent with something called the 'Lambda-Chromodynamics Model,' (but i will not explain this as it is not germane to the argument.)
The most direct evidence we have for dark energy comes from the la supernovae - the Hubble red-shift, a way of measuring 'time warps' from the light of receding objects - measuring how distant a thing is, is more difficult to say the least. Thus, it is necessary to find 'standard candles' - these universal candles actually help us in determining certain distances and magnitudes with good accuracy. Without standard candles, it is relatively impossible for us to measure red-shift distances without us making a wild guess, which is really not acceptable in the realms of science. Type la supernovae are the best known candles in our cosmos for our observations - simply because they are extremely bright and thus visible at distances of billions of light years.
The la supernovae is explained by the favored example of an old 'white dwarf,' which gains mass from a counterpart star and grows until it reaches the 'Chandrasekhar limit' - at this limit, the white dwarf is unstable to thermonuclear runaway and the result is that it explodes with a tremendous brightness, flaring ever outward with energy. It is this brightness that makes observing the Hubble red-shift possible - and it is our observations that indicate the universe isn't decelerating, but is in fact accelerating, at an alarming rate... and it is these observations that the acceleration in universal expansion might be caused by dark energy with negative pressure.
The presence of dark energy is really needed in physics, to reconcile with the measured geometry of spacetime with the total matter in our universe. Measurements of the cosmic background radiation made recently the 'Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe,' indicates that the universe is nearly flat - a big leap i must say from Einstienís highly curved universe. For a universe to be flat, the mass-energy density of the universe must be proportional to the 'critical density.'
'Baryons' and 'dark matter' is thought to cover only about 30% of the universes critical density matter (more on dark matter soon.) Thus, it implies the existence of an additional form of energy to account for the missing 70%. Before we continue, baryons are in the family of 'hadrons.' We have seen two types of baryons in this book - they being protons and neutrons that make up the nucleus of atoms.
The very nature of dark energy is a matter of speculation. It is thought to be extremely homogeneous, not very dense and doesn't interact with electromagnetic, strong or weak forces; only gravity. Since it is not very dense, around 10^-29 grams per cubic centimeter, it is very hard to comprehend dark energy being detected in the laboratory - with it making at least 70-74% of universal matter would have as you can imagine a drastic impact on expansion. Two leading models as we have seen, concerning dark energy are quintessence and the cosmological constant.
The simplest explanation for dark matter is that it is the 'cost of having space.' Thus a volume of spacetime has some kind of intrinsic, fundamental energy. This is the cosmological constant. It is sometimes called 'Lambda' after the Greek letter, which is used as a mathematical symbol to represent this quantity. The cosmological constant is estimated to be on the order of 10^-29g/cm3 or 10^120 in reduced 'Plank Units.'
The cosmological constant might be well known by the reader. It was first proposed by Einstein himself as a mechanism to proclaim a solution to the gravitational field equation, that would lead to Einstienís strange dream; a static universe. Though, his calculations proved to be quite unstable, and that a static universe would be unpredictable due to local inhomogeneties which would result in a universe that contracts or accelerates - this means that the universe, if it expands only a tiny fraction will continue to expand due to a release of energy from the vacuum, and if it decelerates a tiny fraction, again it will continue to contract. Thus, we now know that the universe is accelerating, and Hubble red shift proved this fact - Einstienís mistake went past history, as nothing but a curious flaw, as he himself said, it was his biggest blunder.
Dark energy might arise from the particle-like excitations in a dynamical field called quintessence. Quintessence can vary in spacetime, so it differs from the cosmological constant. Some scientists believe quintessence might be found in violation of Einstienís 'Equivalence Principle.'
The 'cosmic coincidence,' theory asks the problem to why the universe accelerated when it did. If acceleration began earlier than it did, planets stars and galaxies would not have had time to form life - we ultimately would not have been here if it had started earlier. Promoters of the 'anthropic principle,' use this to support evidence of the universes means to create us - possibly by superintelligence, like God.
However, the 'tracker behavior' of quintessence solves this paradox. The tracker behavior model of quintessence has a density which closely tracks (but less than) the radiation density until the matter-radiation is equal, which ultimately triggers the 'quintessence field' to act as dark energy to dominate the universe. One case of quintessence which is thought to exist is called 'phantom energy,' where the energy density can increase in time. As weird and wonderful phantom energy sounds, it might actually result the universe in a 'Big Rip,'. I truly hope not.
And for Dark Matter?
Exotic and Dark Matter
'Exotic matter,' is a hypothetical form of matter that has both a negative energy density and a negative pressure - it is thus, an antigravity substance. All states of known matter have a positive energy density and pressure that are always less than the energy density in magnitude. A good example of energy density you may have heard of is in a stretched rubber band; when a rubber band is stretched, its energy density is about 100 trillion times greater than the pressure. If such matter could be created, it might help us to manage faster-than-light travel, or using it to grow wormholes big enough for human transportation.
Exotic matter is non-baryonic; and one form of exotic matter is called 'dark matter' - called dark matter, not because it is a darkly colored mass, but because scientists have no idea what it is, and that it does not interact with light, or electromagnetic influences. (Most) dark matter in the universe will be non-baryonic - and scientists are confident 20-25% of all matter in the universe is made up of the hypothetical and mysterious dark matter.
At the birth of our universe, 15 billion years ago, all that existed was a hot primordial soup of erratic particles. As the universe began to cool down, ordinary particles such as neutrons, protons and electrons started to join together to form stable atoms, forming all the elements we see today - which was predominantly helium and hydrogen atoms.
The theory of element-making in the first few minutes of the universe was called, 'the big bang nucleosynthesis,' and is recorded in the 'standard model'. The theory was good in predicting hydrogen and helium to pervade our part of the universe. However, the theory, it turns out, relied rather sensitively on the amount of baryonic matter that the universe had available - and the big bang nucleosynthesis predicts the right ratio's for the produce of elements in our universe today - even if 15% of the critical mass of the universe was suffice in stopping cosmic expansion (big crunch).
Of course, it may turn out that our predictions are flawed. However, because the prevailing view that the standard model predicts at least more than 15% of all matter is made up of dark matter, we can be sure that most of all dark matter are not made up of baryons - and since we are not made up of dark matter, it must be another type of matter that accounts for the dark matter. We are made up of protons, neutrons, gluons, electrons, quarks ECT. - Just to mention a few.
Some dark matter might be well-known. Some scientists think that the 'neutrino' particle is in the family of dark matter. Billions upon billions of neutrino's pass through our body every second, spurted out by the sun. For a while, scientists thought that the neutrino might not contain mass, and moved like a luxen particle; like a photon, and traveled at the speed of light. Yet, this hypothesis was proven to be wrong, as it was shown to have a small mass after all.
Another hopeful candidate for non-baryonic dark matter goes by the acronym of 'WIMPS' - Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, that belong to a class of hypothetical heavy elements that hardly interact at all with common matter - hence the fact we have not discovered any as yet - heavy elements does not need to mean anything special - one heavy element we know of here on earth is iron but of a different class.
Some think that the WIMPS do not exist - basing this on the evidence that we have never seen one of these hypothetical particles, like the 'axion'. German scientists are planning an experiment that is essentially designed to 'tease' out dark matter in the form of the exotic particles that can travel through hard physical substances, like a mountain - just like the axion particle.
Dr. Andres Ringwald of DESY laboratory hopes to use a magnetic field to transform a laser beam of photons into axion-like particles. He say's, 'the idea is to send a laser beam along a transverse magnetic field, a fraction of the laser photons will transform into the new particles and travel freely through a wall without being absorbed. Finally, another magnetic field located on the other side of the wall can transform back some of these particles into photons - apparently from nothing.'
The discovery of exotic matter, if found through these experiments will extend the standard model of particle physics; some results that may even seem science-fiction-like, just as the good Dr. informs us, 'suppose that photon regeneration does work - you could set up an axion beam radio. Place the first part of the experiment somewhere to emit the beam and the second part far away, but in line with the first. You could then transport photons - and thus signals - over long distances through materials that normally absorb photons, such as rock and sea water.'
Scientists are sure these Wimps particles exist, and are in close rival of 'MACHOS' - Massive Compact Halo Objects. According to the theory of MACHOS, galaxies like our own are cocooned by exotic systems of dark matter haloes, which are populated by luminous objects, such as 'brown dwarfs', which is the remnant of a Red Giant.
We can use specialized lenses, that can focus and bend light rays from a source behind the observable objects, like a shadow play. This is called 'microlensing,' and has had some success - some scientists think we might be able to detect the MACHOS using this technique - using the same technique, they have discovered the presence of planets previously not detected.
However, not enough MACHOS have been found to account for a fifth of all dark matter - however, as you can guess, because Macho's are made out of baryons, they will be restricted by the big bang nucleosynthesis predictions, since baryonic matter makes up a fraction of all the matter in the universe. This must mean, that our calculations say that MACHOS are ruled out for having the bigger slice of dark matter pie. Another way to catalogue dark matter is to say whether it is of the 'cold' or 'hot' varieties. Very light dark matter that moves a fraction shy of 'c' - the speed of light - is called hot dark matter. Cold dark matter is accounted for by WIMPS. There is, as scientists suspect, more cold dark matter than the hot varieties - just like we have more Bradyons than Luxens in our part of the universe.
We also know that, whatever dark matter is made out of, it will be a major gravitational producer in the universe. Thus, scientists suspect that the missing dark matter most probably helped in the formation of galaxies. In fact, there will be entire galaxies made up of dark matter. Most of these galaxies will look like our own - others like colorful clouds, set out in all their array, as if it where on a magicians darkened stage.