This week researchers announced that they've confirmed the presence of dark energy in the universe -- a mysterious force that is pushing the expansion of the universe ever outwards. The new finding, reported by astronomers using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, helps explain how the universe got the way it is, and the way it might end.
Previous work trying to measure the effects of dark energy examined supernovae, tracking the overall rate of expansion of the universe. The new work looks at a separate measure, the formation of structure within galactic clusters. Data from the two approaches agree, both confirming the presence of the force, and helping astrophysicists refine their calculations of its strength. Data from the new research also indicate that the universe is not likely to end with a fatal 'Big Rip.' We'll talk with one of the researchers on the project.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer