The discoveries of dark matter and dark energy have revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos. These mysterious components, invisible to our eyes, dominate the universe’s total mass-energy content.
Dark matter, first postulated by Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky in the 1930s, accounts for the unseen mass needed to hold galaxy clusters together. Later, in the 1970s, American astronomer Vera Rubin’s study of galaxy rotation curves provided further evidence for dark matter’s existence, as the observed orbital speeds of stars couldn’t be explained by visible matter alone.
Dark energy was discovered in the late 1990s when two independent research teams found that the universe’s expansion was accelerating, contrary to expectations. This mysterious form of energy, permeating all of space, drives the acceleration of the universe’s expansion.
Today, dark matter and dark energy are estimated to make up about 27% and 68% of the universe’s total mass-energy content, respectively, with ordinary visible matter accounting for just about 5%. Although their exact nature remains unknown, ongoing research aims to unravel the mysteries of these unseen forces shaping our universe.