May 22, 2022

Rapidly descending dark energy and the end of cosmic expansion

Posted by in categories: cosmology, quantum physics

Although the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate today, this paper presents a simple mechanism by which a dynamical form of dark energy (known as quintessence) could cause the acceleration to come to end and smoothly transition from expansion to a phase of slow contraction. That raises questions, How soon could this transition occur? And at what point would it be detectable? The conclusions are that the transition could be surprisingly soon, maybe less than 100 million y from now, and yet, for reasons described in the main text, it is not yet detectable today. The scenario is not far-fetched. In fact, it fits naturally with recent theories of cyclic cosmology and conjectures about quantum gravity.

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