Dark Energy and Dark Matter

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" What is Dark Energy and Dark Matter..?? "

" Is it possible for us to observe it..?? "

Dark Energy or Dark Matter(artist's imagination)
Dark Energy or Dark Matter(artist's imagination)

Firstly, let us understand the fundamentals....

Dark Energy :

In physical cosmology and astronomy, Dark energy is an unknown form of energy that affects the universe on the largest scales. The first observational evidence for its existence came from supernovae measurements, which showed that the universe does not expand at a constant rate, rather the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Understanding the evolution of the universe requires knowledge of its starting conditions and its composition. Prior to these observations, the only forms of matter-energy known to exist were ordinary matter, dark matter, and radiation. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background suggest the universe began in a hot Big Bang, from which general relativity explains its evolution and the subsequent large scale motion. Without introducing a new form of energy, there was no way to explain how an accelerating universe could be measured. Since the 1990s, dark energy has been the most accepted premise to account for the accelerated expansion. As of 2020, there are active areas of cosmology research aimed at understanding the fundamental nature of dark energy.

Dark Matter :

Dark matter is a form of matter thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total mass-energy density or about 2.241×10−27 kg/m3. Its presence is implied in a variety of astrophysical observations, including gravitational effects that cannot be explained by accepted theories of gravity unless more matter is present than can be seen. For this reason, most experts think that dark matter is abundant in the universe and that it has had a strong influence on its structure and evolution. Dark matter is called dark because it does not appear to interact with the electromagnetic field, which means it doesn't absorb, reflect or emit electromagnetic radiation, and is therefore difficult to detect.

Einstein's cosmological constant :

The "cosmological constant" is a constant term that can be added to Einstein's field equation of general relativity. If considered as a "source term" in the field equation, it can be viewed as equivalent to the mass of empty space (which conceptually could be either positive or negative), or "vacuum energy".

The cosmological constant was first proposed by Einstein as a mechanism to obtain a solution of the gravitational field equation that would lead to a static universe, effectively using dark energy to balance gravity. Einstein gave the cosmological constant the symbol Λ (capital lambda). Einstein stated that the cosmological constant required that 'empty space takes the role of gravitating negative masses which are distributed all over the interstellar space'.

The mechanism was an example of fine-tuning, and it was later realized that Einstein's static universe would not be stable: local inhomogeneities would ultimately lead to either the runaway expansion or contraction of the universe. The equilibrium is unstable: if the universe expands slightly, then the expansion releases vacuum energy, which causes yet more expansion. Likewise, a universe which contracts slightly will continue contracting. These sorts of disturbances are inevitable, due to the uneven distribution of matter throughout the universe. Further, observations made by Edwin Hubble in 1929 showed that the universe appears to be expanding and not static at all. Einstein reportedly referred to his failure to predict the idea of a dynamic universe, in contrast to a static universe, as his greatest blunder.

Accelerated Expansion due to Dark Energy
Accelerated Expansion due to Dark Energy

Dark matter can refer to any substance which interacts predominantly via gravity with visible matter (e.g., stars and planets). Hence in principle, it need not be composed of a new type of fundamental particle but could, at least in part, be made up of standard baryonic matter, such as protons or neutrons. However, for the reasons outlined below, most scientists think the dark matter is dominated by a non-baryonic component, which is likely composed of a currently unknown fundamental particle (or similar exotic state).

Baryonic matter :

Baryons (protons and neutrons) make up ordinary stars and planets. However, baryonic matter also encompasses less common non-primordial black holes, neutron stars, faint old white dwarfs and brown dwarfs, collectively known as massive compact halo objects (MACHOs), which can be hard to detect.

Non-baryonic matter :

Candidates for non-baryonic dark matter are hypothetical particles such as axions, sterile neutrinos, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), gravitationally-interacting massive particles (GIMPs), supersymmetric particles, or primordial black holes. The three neutrino types already observed are indeed abundant, and dark, and matter, but because their individual masses – however uncertain they maybe – are almost certainly too tiny, they can only supply a small fraction of dark matter, due to limits derived from large-scale structure and high-redshift galaxies.

Distribution of Matter, Dark Matter and Dark Energy
Distribution of Matter, Dark Matter and Dark Energy
3-D map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter
3-D map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter

Cosmologists estimate that the acceleration</