We consider how well the dark energy equation of state w as a function of redshift z will be measured using current and anticipated experiments. We use a procedure which takes fair account of the uncertainties in the functional dependence of w on z, as well as the parameter degeneracies, and avoids the use of strong prior constraints. We apply the procedure to current data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the supernova searches, and obtain results that are consistent with other analyses using different combinations of data sets. The effects of systematic experimental errors and variations in the analysis technique are discussed. Next, we use the same procedure to forecast the dark energy constraints achievable by the end of the decade, assuming 8 years of Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe data and realistic projections for ground-based measurements of supernovae and weak lensing. We find the 2σ constraints on the current value of w to be Δw0(2σ)=0.20, and on dw/dz (between z=0 and z=1) to be Δw1(2σ)=0.37. Finally, we compare these limits to other projections in the literature. Most show only a modest improvement; others show a more substantial improvement, but there are serious concerns about systematics. The remaining uncertainty still allows a significant span of competing dark energy models. Most likely, new kinds of measurements, or experiments more sophisticated than those currently planned, are needed to reveal the true nature of dark energy.
|Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
|Published - Sep 15 2005
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)