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Q & A: Is Dark Energy physical?

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Most recent answer: 01/27/2015
Q:
I Have 2 Questions:1. Does Dark Energy Have A Physical Property?And 2. Does Dark Energy React With Magnetism And If So, How?
- Hunter (age 14)
Kent, WA, U.S.A.
A:

I'm not sure what you mean by "Does Dark Energy Have A Physical Property?".  The main reason that we believe that dark energy exists is that the expansion of the universe has been accelerating, as judged from a variety of astrophysical observations. In that sense, yes, dark energy has physical properties. It's possible that these are the only physical properties it has, that it consists of nothing more than a term in the General Relativistic equation for the behavior of spacetime. Most people who work on it believe that it will be connected with some sort of background field that will have other properties, in principle observable. An analogy would be the Higgs field, which mostly just shows up in the rest masses of particles but does allow for the (now observed) existence of Higgs bosons as well.

There is no reason to think that dark energy has any special  interaction with magnetism. Magnetic fields, like all other fields, are swept along with the expansion of the universe. I'm curious what made you think of magnetism rather than electricity, the strong nuclear force, or the weak nuclear force, or gravity, as something that might be connected with dark energy. All the symptoms of dark energy are gravitational.

Mike W.


(published on 01/27/2015)

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