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Increase of dark energy with expansion of universe

  1. Mar 13, 2015 #1
    Why does dark energy increase along with the expansion of the universe ( I'm not even sure it does but if it dosen't please correct me :))
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2015 #2

    phinds

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    It does and is well known to. It's not clear to me why it should, but the density of the "dark energy", whatever it is, remains constant as spacetime expands, so the total amount increases.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2015 #3

    Suraj M

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    The dark energy density/concentration, remains a constant, ..as the universe expands, the dark energy also increases, to maintain it's concentration a constant
    ..also resulting in the accelerated expansion of the universe
     
  5. Mar 13, 2015 #4

    wabbit

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    I don't know if there is a reason why dark energy density is - or should be - constant, but my (non expert) understanding of the reason it is usually assumed to be constant is that
    - this is the only simplest form compatible with standard general relativity ;
    - there is so far no observational evidence that forces cosmologists to abandon this assumption and go for something more general.
    (Though alternative models do exist of course)

    Edit : corrected, thanks PeterDonis
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  6. Mar 13, 2015 #5

    PeterDonis

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    Not really. It is the simplest form compatible with standard GR. A scalar field that varies with space and time but has an appropriate equation of state can also act like dark energy and is compatible with standard GR, but it's more complicated.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2015 #6

    wabbit

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    Thanks for the correction, edited that - I guess I was using "standard" in an unduly restrictive sense here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  8. Mar 13, 2015 #7

    Chalnoth

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    I think the way you worded this is slightly confusing.

    The density of dark energy remains constant, but everything else dilutes with the expansion. So over time, the dark energy makes up a larger fraction of the energy density. It doesn't increase: everything else just decreases.
     
  9. Mar 13, 2015 #8

    phinds

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    Excellent correction. Thanks. I was going to add, and clearly should have, that the implication of (or really just another way of saying) "density of dark energy remains constant" is that it does not dilute within a given cosmologically large volume but the matter density does dilute.
     
  10. Mar 13, 2015 #9
    oh ok. thanks guys!
     
  11. Mar 14, 2015 #10
    Never thought about it. But, does this dark energy have sources of..uhm..energy?)
     
  12. Mar 14, 2015 #11

    Chronos

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    Im stuck on the Peter Donis explanation, what part of that you find incomprehensible?
     
  13. Mar 14, 2015 #12

    wabbit

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    To qualify this somewhat, the following paper (not completely sure if this is an acceptable source - will remove if not) assesses current observational constraints on dark energy anisotropy and inhomogeneity (and hints of a possible large scale dipole moment in dark energy) : Leandros Perivolaropoulos : Large Scale Cosmological Anomalies and Inhomogeneous Dark Energy
     
  14. Mar 14, 2015 #13
    I always thought this was a good overview of dark energy and the expanding universe-

    http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/skytel-mar05.pdf [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  15. Mar 14, 2015 #14

    phinds

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    Excellent reference. I really like Carroll; I think he's a good explainer. I have a "Teaching Company" set of 12 half-hour video lectures by him on "Dark Matter; Dark Energy" and they're excellent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  16. Mar 14, 2015 #15

    marcus

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    Vighnesh, I don't know of any scientific reason to think that "dark energy" actually arises from any form of energy. Some people think of it that way and others don't. All we observe is a small residual expansion rate that corresponds to a curvature constant that appears naturally on the lefthand side of the GR equation. In my experience it confuses people to think of it as some kind of energy---it's just a slight built-in spacetime curvature.

    If you want to know the exact value in metric units, based on current observational measurements, it corresponds to a distance growth rate of 1.83 x 10-18 per second. No mysterious "energy" needs to be involved.
    The present fractional rate of distance growth (between things at cosmic rest, not gravitationally or otherwise bound together) is
    2.20 x 10-18 per second.
    Each second, a large-scale distance distance grows by that small fraction of its length.

    This fractional distance growth rate was much larger in the early universe and has been steadily declining ever since. It is expected to continue declining but not to reach zero. Instead it is expected to level off at 1.83 x 10-18 per second.
    Einstein included in his GR Equation the curvature constant Lambda which turns out to be three times the square of this rate.

    If you google "general relativity" and get the Wikipedia article, you immediately see this Lambda in the standard form of the equation in the box on the right of the page.
    b3f14edb49fd763ec19df7dcf1ff087e.png
    Its value according to current estimates is about 10.0 x 10-36 per second2.
    You can easily see how that works out: if you square 1.83 and multiply by 3 you get about 10, squaring 10-18 gives 10-36 and of course if you square "per second" you get "per second per second" or per second2
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  17. Mar 14, 2015 #16
    Hi. Thanks for your replies guys, really cleared it up for me :)
     
  18. Mar 15, 2015 #17
    If the expansion is accelerating, why is this fractional distance growth rate decreasing? Doesn't that imply the acceleration is actually negative and that things are slowing down? Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying?
     
  19. Mar 15, 2015 #18

    phinds

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    Think about this: You are going 100mph and you are accelerating at 20mph per hr, so in an hour you will be going 120 mph. At that point, your acceleration decreases to 19mph per hr, so in one more hour you will be going 139mph. Does that seem to you like "slowing down"?
     
  20. Mar 15, 2015 #19

    marcus

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    that is a verbal problem, Phyrnos. the word "accelerating" is confusing people. the expansion rate has always been decreasing since the very early universe and according to the standard cosmic model (called LambdaColdDarkMatter, or LCDM) we expect it to continue decreasing, just not to get down to zero but to kind of level out at a longterm rate.

    The big discovery in 1998 was that the longterm rate is not zero but is actually a small positive rate.

    There are two ways they could have announced the 1998 result, which way sounds better to you?

    ===announcement one===
    The present rate of distance growth is 1/144 of one percent per million years and we found that it is declining more slowly than was thought. Instead of gradually tailing off to zero it has been acting as if it is going to level out at 1/173 percent per million years.
    ==endquote==

    The alternative would use scientific notation, to express these very small fractional growth rates, and the metric unit of time, the second. Each second the distance grows by a tiny tiny fraction of itself.

    ===announcement two===
    The present rate of distance growth is 2.20 x 10-18 per second and we found that it is declining more slowly than was thought. Instead of gradually tailing off to zero it has been acting as if it is going to level out at 1.83 x 10-18 per second.
    ==endquote==

    I don't like the word "acceleration" in this context because for most of us it has mental associations with driving a car. Driving a car is not a good metaphor for the pattern of cosmic distance growth described by Hubble Law. The analogies are weak, and awkward, and lead to confusion. A better analogy would be money in a savings account at the bank where the interest rate is gradually declining. If the fractional growth rate is declining GRADUALLY ENOUGH then the account can still grow each year by a larger dollar amount (because the principal is increasing). AFAICS the minute you use the word "acceleration" and start thinking about driving a car you have lost touch with the actual process occurring in nature.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  21. Mar 15, 2015 #20

    wabbit

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    Oh you just corrected a deep misunderstanding of mine, thanks marcus. Plus that makes sense, I actually thought either statement true depending on what I was thinking about !

    Back from deleting my post about this in another thread : )

    I find it strange that we hear that expression "accelerating expansion" all the time when it is in fact not accelerating... This is just confusing, why make it so hard for us poor laymen to get even a broad understanding of what's going on !

    Edit : Well I suppose it's accelerating in comparison to one that would be decreasing... kind of like my country's public spending is said to decrease whenever it increases less than previously expected : )
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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