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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reconstructing and deconstructing dark energy


The acceleration of the expansion of the universe, ascribed to a dark energy, is one of the most intriguing discoveries in science. In addition to precise, systematics controlled data, clear, robust interpretation of the observations is required to reveal the nature of dark energy. Even for the simplest question: is the data consistent with the cosmological constant? there are important subtleties in the reconstruction of the dark energy properties. We discuss the roles of analysis both in terms of the Hubble expansion rate or dark energy density \rho_{DE}(z) and in terms of the dark energy equation of state w(z), arguing that each has its carefully defined place. Fitting the density is best for learning about the density, but using it to probe the equation of state can lead to instability and bias.

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