Enigmatic Forces of the Universe: Gravity, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy

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Enigmatic Forces of the Universe: Gravity, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“First introduced in the 1570’s, Obler’s Paradox posited by German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers (pronounced “hein-rick vill-helm ohl-bers”) states that if the universe truly is large scale, then by default, every possible direction from Earth should result in observing a star, causing the night sky from Earth to appear awash in blazing starlight instead of black which is what is normally observed. It was theorized that the Earth may be surrounded by dark clouds which absorb light, causing this dark result. This theory however was eventually dismissed because it became agreed upon by scientists that if material did blockade starlight, it would absorb this light, heat up, and eventually glow with the same intensity as the stars themselves. This paradox was only successfully resolved during the 20th century as it became known then that the universe had a beginning point. Because only 13,800,000,000 (13.8 billion) years have passed since this beginning point, much of the light emanating from the early universe has not reached Earth. This explains why light points cannot be observed in every direction while situated upon Earth.

In 1781, the telescope revealed Uranus, the first discovery of a planet since the ancient world. Uranus was discovered to be drifting away from the solar system, deviating from its predicted path by leveraging the laws of gravity. This caused scientists to re-evaluate whether or not the laws of gravity were wrong. In 1846, the mathematician Urbain le Verrier (pronounced “urr-ban leh vair-ee-yay”) at the Paris Observatory posited the theory that something may be pulling upon Uranus, doing so while employed at the observatory to calculate the orbital rotation of comets.

le Verrier was known for his personality of being pathological in his need to impose order upon everything and everyone, with no allowances permitted for human error or frailty. A contemporary of le Verrier, a person who worked at the Paris Observatory is recorded as stating, “I do not know whether Urbaine le Verrier is actually the most detestable man in France, but I am quite certain that he is the most detested”. To le Verrier’s credit, he was a mathematical genius and he was as hard upon himself as he was upon others.

le Verrier hypothesized that another planet may be tugging upon Uranus and he calculated what he believed to be proof of this phenomena. Within these calculations, le Verrier attempted to

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