What is dark energy? And could we tap into it?

By: Talal Al-Khatib

What's the difference between dark energy and dark matter?

Although the names seem to imply that they are similar, dark energy and dark matter are not directly related. Dark energy is the force responsible for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe at an ever-increasing rate since the Big Bang.

Dark matter, on the other hand, consists of the unseen particles that bind our universe—and even our own bodies—together. Although astronomers can't see dark matter through a telescope, they can locate dark matter by its gravitational effects on its surroundings and the detectable X-rays it emits, as explained by Craig Freudenrich.


Where dark matter is the force that keep the universe together and explains how the cohesion of the stars, galaxies and more is even possible, dark energy pushes it apart. As explained by Clara Moskowitz at, what we actually see—all visible matter—makes up a mere 4 percent of our universe.