We present a short (and necessarily incomplete) review of the evidence for the accelerated expansion of the Universe. The most direct probe of acceleration relies on the detailed study of supernovae (SN) of type Ia. Assuming that these are standardizable candles and that they fairly sample a homogeneous and isotropic Universe, the evidence for acceleration can be tested in a model-independent and calibration-independent way. Various light-curve fitting procedures have been proposed and tested. While several fitters give consistent results for the so-called Constitution set, they lead to inconsistent results for the recently released SDSS SN. Adopting the SALT fitter and relying on the Union set, cosmic acceleration is detected by a purely kinematic test at 7σ when spatial flatness is assumed and at 4σ without any assumption on the spatial geometry. A weak point of the described method is the local set of SN (at z<0.2), as these SN are essential to anchor the Hubble diagram. These SN are drawn from a volume much smaller than the Hubble volume and could be affected by local structure. Without the assumption of homogeneity, there is no evidence for acceleration, as the effects of acceleration are degenerate with the effects of inhomogeneities. Unless we sit in the centre of the Universe, such inhomogeneities can be constrained by SN observations by means of tests of the isotropy of the Hubble flow.
Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics
- Pub Date:
- April 2011
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 7 pages, 3 figures, invited talk given at the School on Nuclear Astrophysics, Erice 2010