Astronomers Believe that the Universe's Rate of Expansion Is Accelerating

Zheng Yuan

PureInsight | January 13, 2003

Astronomers postulate that a big explosion gave birth to the universe, and that since then the universe has been expanding. Until very recently, scientists continued to maintain that the expansion of the universe will change in two possible ways. Either the force of gravity will compress the galactic system into an ever more dense mass, creating a very dense cluster of matter when the mass of the universe goes beyond a certain limit, or the expansion of the universe will continue, but at decreasing speed when the cosmic mass has become sufficiently diffuse.

In 1998, two independent research groups discovered that the universe's rate of expansion is accelerating. Professor Kirshner presented a simulation model of the expansion of the universe. Calculations based on this model reveal that the universe is made of 70% hidden energy, 25% hidden matter and 5% ordinary matter, such as fixed stars and planets. Researchers have discovered that the expansion of the universe began accelerating several trillion years ago, substantially later than the universe's birth.

"Today's scientists, too, have discovered the situation in which great changes are taking place in the cosmos. They've discovered that the scope of the universe they can currently see is expanding faster and faster, and the speed of the expansion keeps accelerating … Let's think about it: what does this expansion mean? Something only expands before it explodes; it expands and expands, and when it reaches a certain point it suddenly bursts. So everything is in its final stage." (From Master Li, Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston)


1. "The Extravagant Universe: Exploding stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos," by Robert P. Kirshner; Princeton University Press, 2002.
2. "The Runaway Universe: The race to find the future of the cosmos," by Donald Goldsmith; Perseus Publishing, 2000.
3. "The Accelerating Universe: Infinite Expansion, the Cosmological Constant, and The Beauty of the Cosmos," by Mario Livio and Allan Sandage; John Wiley & Sons, 2000.

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