`Dark matter and energy may not exist in space`
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Last Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 20:31
London: Stirring a fresh debate over the composition of the universe, British physicists have claimed that dark matter and energy, the mysterious forces which are thought to make up 96 per cent of space, may not exist.

The universe is formed of recognisable components such as planets, stars, asteroids and gas - which accounts for just four per cent of the cosmos, while the rest is thought to be made up of mysterious dark matter and dark energy,according to the decades-old Standard Model.

Now, a new study by Durham University has suggested that calculations on which the Standard Model is based could be fatally flawed, raising possibility that the "dark side" of cosmos doesn't exist, which in turn could mean the universe is expanding less quickly than earlier thought.

"This would challenge greatly our assumptions about the long term future of the universe, because the assumption at the moment is that the universe is expanding and if it isn't that would be a huge shock.

"It could even mean that the expansion of the universe is slowing down and could grind to a halt," Dr Robert Massey of Royal Astronomical Society, which published the findings, was quoted by 'The Daily Telegraph' as saying.

A new analysis of measurements taken by NASA of Big Bang heat radiation in 2001 showed that the heat waves may be far smaller than previously thought.

When the measurements were first taken in 2001 the size of the ripples in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation led scientists to conclude that the cosmos is made up of four per cent "normal" matter, 22 per cent "dark" or invisible matter and 74 per cent "dark" energy.

But, the scientists now claim that the waves of radiation which were previously measured at about twice the size of the full moon may in fact be less than half that size.

Professor Tom Shanks, who led the research, said: "CMB observations are a powerful tool for cosmology and it is vital to check for systematic effects. If our results prove correct then it will become less likely that dark energy and exotic matter particles dominate the universe. So the evidence that the universe has a dark side will weaken."


First Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 20:31

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