Monday, February 25, 2008
Dark Energy -- the Hidden Conspiracy
So recently there have been some measurements taken of the universe's expansion, and its possible between the various goings-on in the world a lot of folks don't have time to delve into the finer points of the astronomical vogue news.
Well, lucky you, because I feel its time that everybody learns about Dark Energy. Don't worry, I won't go into math or whatever, because I don't understand it either. I'll just give you guys the gist of it, and then let you go off and throw up in a state of nauseated euphoria as you consider the implications, and slowly go insane.
So...the Big Bang, right? Yeah, so, Maiar and Magic aside, its a pretty accepted theory of universal start time. Basically, every piece of matter was a tiny hot little speck, and for whatever reason it exploded and everything went everywhere in all directions. Eventually things cooled and became galaxies and whatnot, which is where your slurpies come from. In any case, you've probably heard about "Dark Matter," which is essentially a name the astrophysicists give the "fudge factor" constants they have to use in their fancy equations to solve for x. Dark Matter is an uncreative name for invisible matter ("ether," anyone?) that possesses a gravitational pull, that can't be directly measured, but can be studied by its effects on (regular matter) neighboring bodies. Fair enough.
Now putting Einstein's theories of whatever in the formulas, the big scientists determined that the universe will eventually slow down and stop expanding, and then collapse back in on itself as the gravity of the universe overcomes the force of the initial Big Bang, and then we'll have the "Big Crunch." You may have learnt about this in middle school, back when all they told us was lies.
Turns out, these scientists don't know shit about shit. Initially they had some quirky readings of the universe's expansion, but finally in August of 2006, they got some readings using NASA's orbital X-ray laboratory where they could measure the redshift of the galaxies moving away from our planet without the earth's atmosphere interfering. They figured they'd determine how fast the universe was expanding and at what rate it was slowing, in the hopes of being able to give a guesstimate on the amount of Dark Matter in the universe. Only instead of finding out the universe was slowing down, they found out it was speeding up.
That's right, speeding up. Think about that for a second. It doesn't make any goddamn sense. The fastest the galaxy should have been spreading is immediately after the Big Bang, and should slow down from then on out. "Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, objects in motion tend to stay in motion." Remember that little wit of wisdom from good ol' Newton? Well, not a universal truth, evidentially. Something is expanding in between the stars and galaxies, forcing the total area of the universe to get bigger without having any mass in itself at all.
What's the term for this ridiculously magical substance? "Dark Energy." Well, at least they didn't call it "The Xena Effect" or "Seven-of-Nine Swelling." In any case, Dark Energy is the new Dark Matter (there's still Dark Matter though...I guess).
So for the last 1-2 years we know we have had no freaking clue what was going on in space (we never really knew, but now we know we don't know, see?). We thought we did. I thought we did. But we don't. At all. Space is made of a magical substance that ebbs and flows however it wants, and swells up without having any measurable forces at all.
Light speed the fastest speed anything can travel? We probably got that wrong too. Alternate dimensions? Sure, why not? Hyperspace travel? Probably possible. Elder Beings watching us hungrily from across the endless voids of space? Most definitely.
Basically, every kind of cheesy alien/ghost/space travel origin presented late at night on the sci-fi channel, which everyone made fun of you for watching over and over, is now understood to be totally possible. Man, scientists are so freaking dumb, duh!