There are two ways to describe dark things in science. One is phenomena we know exist, even if invisible to us, because we can measure their effects with instruments (X-rays, infrared radiation). The other is darkness as a placeholder for something not yet explained. Cosmologists have been talking about “dark matter” for decades now, and “dark energy” since the 1990s. Which category of dark ideas are they? Whether scientifically valid phenomena or placeholders for ignorance, one thing is clear from recent articles: much more knowledge is needed.
- Still in the dark about dark matter (PhysOrg): “Dark matter, the mysterious stuff thought to make up about 80 percent of matter in the universe, has become even more inscrutable.”
- Variable dark energy could explain old galaxy clusters (New Scientist): Astronomers don’t even know what dark energy is, but now a Spaniard wants to twiddle with it.
- Little galaxies big on dark matter (PhysOrg): “Dark matter… It came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang.” That’s how to talk with chutzpah about something nobody understands.
- Revolutionary new camera reveals the dark side of the Universe (PhysOrg): Now here’s an article about real stuff: ordinary electromagnetic radiation in the submilleter range, being detected by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.
- Nobel Winners Keep Eyes on the Real Prize: Solving Dark Energy Riddle (Live Science): Three men got a lot of money from the Nobel Committee for “discovering” dark energy. Now they want to discover what it is they discovered; “the force has yet to be directly detected, and the concept remains shrouded in mystery.”
- Could dark matter not matter? (PhysOrg): Some Italian has come up with a way to explain the rotation curves of galaxies without appealing to dark matter, but others are skeptical.
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