ESOcast 40: Nobel Prize for Accelerating Universe Discovery
The astronomy podcast featuring news and cutting-edge science from ESO
16 January 2012
This episode of the ESOcast looks at one of the key discoveries in physics made by astronomers in the past two decades: that our Universe is not only expanding, but that this expansion is also speeding up.
Observations from ESO’s telescopes in Chile played a significant role in this revolutionary discovery, and scientists Saul Perlmutter (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, USA), Brian P. Schmidt (Australian National University), and Adam G. Riess (STScI, Baltimore, USA) were awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the find. Two of the follow-up projects were led by ESO staff members, Chris Lidman and Bruno Leibundgut, and other ESO staff members, Isobel Hook and Jason Spyromilio, were contributors to crucial papers.
By observing exploding stars known as Type Ia supernovae, teams led by the Nobel laureates established that the expansion of the Universe was not slowing down, as had been expected in a Universe dominated by matter, but was accelerating. The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but its origin remains deeply mysterious. The discovery of the accelerating expansion led to a total revision of astronomers' view of the Universe as a whole and opened up a new world of cosmology and fundamental physics.
Watch the episode to learn more about how the astronomers made the discovery, and what it could mean for the future of the Universe.
The ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO — the European Southern Observatory.
Subscribe to our video podcast now to keep up with the latest news from ESO: the ESOcast is available via iTunes in HD and SD. It’s also available on YouTube, Vimeo and dotSUB and is offered for download in several formats including HD.
- Watch and download the ESOcast 40
- All our video podcasts are available
- Subscribe to the series now on iTunes in HD or SD
- Watch us on YouTube, Vimeo or dotSUB
- Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more news
Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada.
Editing: Herbert Zodet.
Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida.
Written by: Herbert Zodet and Oli Usher.
Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain.
Music: zero-project (zero-project.gr) and movetwo.
Footage and photos: ESO, Luis Calçada, Stéphane Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard), Martin Kornmesser, José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org), Alexandre Santerne and N.B. Suntzeff, Texas A&M University.
Directed by: Herbert Zodet.
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.
About the Announcement