What is the cosmological constant?


What is the cosmological constant?

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It’s a value used within some of Einstein’s equations to help explain the effect dark matter (and dark energy) has within our universe.

It was originally used by Einstein, removed, then re-added to the equations in order to help the equation results mirror what we observe in the real world. The problem is that we don’t really understand how dark matter or dark energy works (nor why the universe’s expansion is accelerating). As a result, the Cosmological Constant is just a placeholder at the end of the day. We plugged it into to equation to get it to work, but we don’t know why it works.

Every parcel of *space* has an energy associated with it and that is the cosmological constant. That is the cosmological constant.

The expansion of the universe is accelerating and the explanation for this is “dark energy” which I’m sure you’ve heard of at some point. The simplest form of dark energy consistent with general relativity is to just assign a specific energy density per unit volume of space ie. a constant.