One of the greatest mysteries in physics today is that of dark matter and dark energy, those shadowy entities that we can not see or identify, but whose current theories make up about 95 percent of the cosmos. It is a little embarrassing that such a large part of existence often causes shrugs of our most brilliant minds.
But now there is hope. An Oxford astrophysicist, Jamie Farnes, says he may have a solution to why our universe seems to be made up of such shady substances. This idea promises to explain dark matter and dark energy in one fell swoop, reports The Conversation.
Or, rather, one fell goop .
Instead of dark matter and dark energy, Farnes uses a single, unifying substance, which he calls "dark fluid." And like a syrup from the underworld, dark liquid behaves differently than anything in the known universe.
If you press dark liquid, it will move toward you instead of away. If you move it, it repels. It's basically a real physical rendering of Upside Down (for those who are familiar with knowledge about "stranger things").
Although Farne's dark, liquid-filled upside-down is not inhabited by mythical demons and minds, it's made up of a negative mass. It's like a minus sign for the universe.
Why Negative Mass Makes Sense
A substance with negative mass may sound deeply anti-intuitive, but has surprising explanatory power. For example, one of the biggest unexplainable mysteries in the universe is the observation that galaxies spin too fast to counteract gravity. As with any roundabout on a playground, galaxies should diverge as they rotate. Therefore, scientists believe that galaxies must contain more matter than they can see, d. H. Dark matter.
If we posit instead the existence of a substance with negative mass, a dark fluid that reacts to the outward force of spinning galaxies, not by disintegration, but by dragging, then we can explain our observations.
The dark energy, which is the mysterious force that scientists use to observe the increasing expansion of our universe, can also be conveniently explained by dark fluid. Farnes found that computer models of the Universe containing a substance of negative mass behave as the dark energy is supposed to do, with far fewer puzzles.
So is that it? Has Farnes solved the mystery of dark matter and dark energy?
Dark Fluid offers a compelling theory, but even Farnes admits that this could be completely wrong. It requires real empirical observations rather than compelling speculations before anything is known for certain. But the evidence is promising so far.
"The theory seems to provide answers to so many unanswered questions that scientists rightly will be quite suspicious," Farnes writes. "However, it's often the ideas that have long been used to solve problems, and the heavy accumulation of evidence is now so great that we need to consider this unusual possibility."
The mystery of dark matter and dark energy may have just been solved by many of the current mysteries in astrophysics.