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Dark Matter and Dark Energy: WTH are they?

  1. Dec 21, 2012 #1
    I am not currently a physics major, just an enthusiast. Hopefully that will change soon. Regardless: I hear physicists talk about dark energy & dark matter very frequently, but I've never actually had it explained in a sensible way. Can you tell me what dark energy & dark matter are as well as why physicists believe it is there? Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2012 #2


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  4. Dec 21, 2012 #3
    Awesome, thanks! I usually stray away from wiki, but if you say those pages are accurate then I'm all in.
  5. Dec 21, 2012 #4


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    Wikipedia should be taken for what it is. An encyclopedia that is constantly updated. Just like any source of information it can be inaccurate, but in my experience of using it, of which I have quite a lot, it's almost always good. It's a good source for general information about a subject, but don't try to write a paper using it as your source.
  6. Dec 21, 2012 #5


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  7. Dec 22, 2012 #6
    Nobody knows for sure what Dark Matter and Dark Energy are at this time. Explaining their existence is one of the main goals of modern theorists.
  8. Dec 23, 2012 #7
  9. Dec 23, 2012 #8

    Here are a few tidbits from my notes:

    These are fairly recent and I found them useful in distinguishing between negative pressure dark energy and the Einstein cosmological constant: [I did not record the sources, but these from trusted posters in these forums.]

    [This means the metric expansion of space changes over time; the cosmological constant, is well, constant and I believe, constant in all reference frames.

    Metric expansion...the acceleration of expansion is based on homogeneous and isotropic model conditions...a uniform cosmos. Since galaxies are not, my understanding is that we do not yet have a model solution that applies to lumpy galactic conditions. Some in these forums seem to take the view that expansion DOES have ever so slight an effect within galaxies. Regardless, 'metric expansion' and cosmological constant effects are different.
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