A new study of 86 galaxy clusters in the early universe has provided independent confirmation of the existence of dark energy. In its absence, gravity's pull should have caused the number of clusters to increase by a factor of 50 over the last 5.5 billion years. What is observed is a factor of 10 increase. "Together with earlier observations... the new data strengthen the suspicion — but do not prove — that dark energy is a weird antigravity called the cosmological constant that was hypothesized and then abandoned by Albert Einstein as a 'blunder' almost a century ago. If that is true, the universe is fated to empty itself out eventually, and all but the Milky Way's closest neighbors will eventually be out of sight. ... Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins and the Space Telescope Science Institute, said: 'If this was a fox hunt and dark energy was the fox, I think they have closed off another escape route. But there is still a lot of terrain left for the fox, and we've seen little more than a glimmer of fur.'"
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