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The Evolving Search for the Nature of Dark Energy

Three-quarters of the Universe is dark energy, but nobody knows what it is. Is it an unknown form of energy that fills space, or an illusion caused by extra dimensions of space? Or is it just a flaw in Einstein’s theory of gravity? Proven techniques for investigating these questions are being refined, while new techniques are beginning to be applied to one of the most pressing problems in 21st-century physics. Part 1 discusses supernovae as standard candles.

The Evolving Search for the Nature of Dark Energy

Baryon acoustic oscillations provides a “standard ruler” for the Universe, a way to measure the details of dark energy.

The Evolving Search for the Nature of Dark Energy

Gravitational lensing, which depends on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, directly tests its ability to predict the growth of large-scale structure.

First Light for BOSS – A New Kind of Search for Dark Energy

BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, is the most ambitious attempt yet to map the expansion history of the Universe using the technique known as baryon acoustic oscillation. BOSS achieved first light on September 14 with an upgraded spectrographic system on the 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory.

Cosmology’s Best Standard Candles Get Even Better

The Nearby Supernova Factory has discovered an efficient method for standardizing the intrinsic brightness and thus the distance to the cosmic milestones known as Type Ia supernovae. The discovery underlines the crucial importance of spectroscopy in the quest to understand dark energy.