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Is 'quintessence' accelerating the Universe?

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Cosmologists say that they have uncovered hints of an intriguing twisting in the way that ancient light moves across the Universe, which could offer clues about the nature of dark energy — the mysterious force that seems to be pushing the cosmos to expand ever-faster.

They suggest that the twisting of light, which they identified in data on the cosmic microwave background (CMB) collected by the Planck space telescope, and the acceleration of the Universe could be produced by a cosmic ‘quintessence’, an exotic substance that pervades the cosmos.

Such a discovery would require a major revision of current theories, and physicists warn that the evidence is tentative — it does not meet the ‘5 sigma’ threshold used to determine whether a signal is a discovery. But it underscores the fact that modern cosmology still has an incomplete picture of the Universe’s contents.

Full monty at Nature: Link

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