The galaxy cluster Abell 1689 is famous for the way it bends light in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. A new study of the cluster is revealing secrets about how dark energy shapes the universe. Full story.
CREDIT: NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM)

Right Again, Einstein! New Study Supports ‘Cosmological Constant’

by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 16 January 2013 Time: 06:50 AM ET

A new study of one of the universe’s fundamental constants casts doubt on a popular theory of dark energy, scientists say.

Dark energy is the name given to whatever is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. One theory predicts that an unchanging entity pervading space called the cosmological constant, originally suggested by Albert Einstein, is behind dark energy. But a popular alternative, called rolling scalar fields,suggests that whatever’s causing dark energy isn’t a constant, but has changed through time.

If that were true, though, it should have caused the values of other fundamental constants of nature to change, too. And a new measurement of one such constant, the ratio between themass of the proton and mass of the electron, shows that this constant has remained remarkably steady over time.

Read more: Right Again, Einstein! New Study Supports 'Cosmological Constant' | Rolling Scalar Fields Theory | Space.

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