Dark Energy

In 1998, astronomers studying supernovae made the surprising discovery that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating; their work was recognized by the 2011 Nobel Prize.

The mysterious stuff driving this acceleration was named ‘dark energy’, and is now known to account for about 70% of the Universe’s density. There are a number of proposals for what dark energy is, ranging from Einstein’s cosmological constant to scalar fields to modifications to General Relativity on cosmological distance scales. Understanding the nature of dark energy is a major area of research in modern cosmology.

Supervisor Profiles & Available Research Projects

Dr Christian Reichardt

  • Galaxy cluster cosmology
  • Tests of dark energy using galaxy cluster abundances


The Fornax Galaxy Cluster is one of the closest galactic groupings beyond our Local Group of galaxies. The VLT Survey Telescope image shows the central part of the cluster. At the lower-right is the spiral galaxy NGC 1365 and to the left the elliptical NGC 1399. Credit: ESO