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What is Dark Matter and Dark Energy’s role in the Universe?

Author: Vincent Guo

Editors: Sumire Sumi and Kyra Wang

Artist: Lalita Ma

We all know gravity pulls things together; that is why scientists believed that one day, our universe would stop expanding. However, somehow, our universe keeps on growing. That is all thanks to dark energy. Dark energy is like an invisible force pushing things away. We are unable to interact with dark energy or dark matter. Dark matter and dark energy are the exact opposites. Dark energy pushes things away, while dark matter pulls things together. They both share similar traits, like being invisible, yet they play a huge part in our universe. Dark energy interacts with nothing, while dark matter interacts with nothing except gravity. We believe they exist because dark matter can be affected by gravity, and dark energy can be observed.

Dark matter makes up most of the matter in our universe. Did you know that only a few percent of the matter that makes up our universe is not dark matter? Only 5% of the universe is made up of normal matter and energy. The other 95% is just dark matter and dark energy. Although their existence is not truly confirmed, we only believe they exist because they help explain how our universe works and functions. Scientists speculate that dark matter holds galaxies together, including our Milky Way galaxy. Dark matter also gives galaxies extra mass, which helps increase the galaxy’s gravitational pull. Scientists believe that this gravitational pull helps hold the galaxy together.

Dark energy makes up 68% of our universe. It keeps our universe expanding to this day. Not only that, but the rate at which our universe is expanding is accelerating faster and faster. What makes it so interesting is that dark energy interacts with absolutely nothing. Even dark matter interacts with something, but dark energy, so far, interacts with nothing. Some scientists speculate that dark energy is like an invisible fluid filling our space. Nevertheless, we know very little about what dark energy and dark matter truly are and whether they truly exist.

 

Citations:

“Dark Matter.” CERN, home. cern/science/physics/dark-

matter#:~:text=Unlike%20normal%20matter%2C%20dark%20matter,to%20have%20

on%20visible%20matter. Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

“Dark Energy and Dark Matter.” Dark Energy and Dark Matter | Center for Astrophysics,

www.cfa.harvard.edu/research/topic/dark-energy-and-dark-

matter#:~:text=Dark%20matter%20pulls%20galaxies%20together,of%20dark%20energy

%20in%201998. Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

“Dark Matter: Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC).” Dark

Matter | Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC),

kipac.stanford.edu/research/topics/dark-matter. Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

“Dark Energy, Dark Matter - NASA Science.” NASA, NASA,

science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/. Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

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