a1 School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
a2 Physics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Observational evidence indicating that the expansion of the universe is accelerating has surprised cosmologists in recent years. Cosmological models have sought to explain this acceleration by incorporating ‘dark energy’, of which the traditional cosmological constant is just one possible candidate. Several cosmological models involving an evolving equation of state of the dark energy have been proposed, as well as possible energy exchange to other components, such as dark matter. This paper summarizes the forms of the most prominent models and discusses their implications for cosmology and astrophysics. Finally, this paper examines the current and future observational constraints on the nature of dark energy.
(Received September 19 2005)
(Accepted November 01 2005)