Dark energy has served as a placeholder to explain away gaps in our current understanding of the universe for decades but now Professor Artyom Astashenok and undergraduate Aleksander Tepliakov from the Baltic Federal University think they have cracked the mystery. Their research was published in the International Journal of Modern Physics D.
According to their model of the universe, the ever-accelerating expansion of spacetime can be explained without the need for something as baffling and intangible as Dark energy by using the Casimir effect, which describes the pull between two metal plates placed in a vacuum.
The pair likened their model to the Earth, which we perceive as finite but with boundaries we can’t necessarily see. In the case of the Earth we are dealing with a two-dimensional plane but, extrapolating that understanding outwards, in the case of the universe, it is three-dimensional space with its own set of boundaries that exist, but are largely imperceptible.
In layman’s terms, according to the Casimir effect, particles appear and disappear between two metal plates and as a result a minor pull between the two is generated. According to Astashenok and Tepliakov, the same could be said for the universe, but with a kind of additional repulsion causing the ever-faster expansion of space.
“In other words, there is actually no ‘dark energy’ but there is a manifestation of the limits of the Universe. This does not mean, however, that it ends somewhere but we might face some complex topology,” the researchers said.
The Russian astrophysicists claim their cosmological model does not contradict the accelerated expansion of the universe nor the law of universal gravitation.
Time will tell whether the scientific community agrees, but for now at least, their bold claims of a universe without dark energy is certainly compelling.