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Astrophysicists at The University of Texas at Dallas are helping to better define the nature of the cosmos by examining why the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating pace.

In the last century, scientists developed the Big Bang model, which posits that the universe began when a single point containing all the matter in the universe exploded some 13.8 billion years ago. Since then, the universe has been expanding.

In 1998, researchers observed light from exploding stars called supernovas, and found that the universe is not expanding at a constant rate, nor is it slowing down, as would be expected from the force of gravity pulling all matter together. Instead, scientists found that the expansion is speeding up.

To explain this observed “cosmic acceleration,” astrophysicists have devised several competing theories. Thanks to UT Dallas research, one of those theories can now be crossed off the list.

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