New dark energy theory claims it may not even exist

Dark energy, science's murky potential explanation for why the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, may not even exist (for the most part), a new theory claims. Researchers with Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU) in Russia have published a new study that offers an alternative potential explanation for why the universe is expanding, one that doesn't violate the law of universal gravitation.

Humanity has been aware of the universe's expansion for around one century, something that, in more recent decades, was found to be happening at an accelerated rate. The acceleration presents a bit of a mystery, though — how exactly is this expansion happening in light of the law of gravity?

Dark energy has been presented as a possible explanation. Rather than just being filled with the ordinary matter forming stars, planets, and such, it is possible there is also a mysterious and unique 'dark energy' that fills the majority of the universe, explaining how the acceleration can happen in light of gravitational forces, which cannot cause the acceleration.

The new study out of Russia offers a different theory: a type of repulsion akin to that of the Casimir effect may be happening in space, fueling the acceleration of the universe's expansion. This effect may hint at some type of 'boundaries' of the universe, though the researchers explain that this doesn't mean the universe comes to an abrupt end somewhere.

Rather, the researchers say the universe may have a type of three-dimensional 'complex topology' that makes this process possible. IKBFU's Artyom Astashenok, one of the researchers who recently presented the research, explains:

...there is essentially no 'Dark Energy,' but there is a manifestation of the boundaries of the Universe. You can draw an analogy with the Earth. After all, it also has no boundaries, but it is finite. The difference between the Earth and the Universe is that in the first case we are dealing with two-dimensional space, and in the second – with three-dimensional