Hypothesized by physicists to drive the accelerating expansion of the universe, dark energy has never been directly observed or measured. Instead, scientists can only make inferences about it from its effects on the space and matter we can see.
Finding measurable hints of dark energy’s effects on distance objects — and the shape of space itself — is a major goal of major NASA missions, such as the upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
But in a new paper published September 15 in the journal Physical Review D a group of cosmologists suggests researchers might not need to peer deep into the cosmos to make second-hand observations of dark energy — it may have been detected right here on Earth.
What’s new — In the paper, the researchers claim that hints of dark energy were detected at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy during an experiment designed to detect dark matter.
The team, comprised mostly of theorists, looked at data from the XENON1T, an experiment designed to detect rare interactions between hypothetical dark matter particles and components of the noble gas xenon held in a special detector.