A mysterious dark energy which permeates space and increases the rate of expansion of the Universe was confirmed by a major astronomical survey Thursday.    The BBC has reported that the study concluded that “Dark energy makes up some 74% of the Universe and its existence would explain why the Universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate.”

Dr. Chris Blake of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia said that “The action of dark energy is as if you threw a ball up in the air, and it kept speeding upward into the sky faster and faster.”  He added, “The results tell us that dark energy is a cosmological constant, as Einstein proposed. If gravity were the culprit, then we wouldn’t be seeing these constant effects of dark energy throughout time.”

Scientists used two autonomous types of observations, measuring a pattern in how galaxies are distributed through space and calculating how quickly clusters of galaxies have formed over time.  Both techniques confirmed the existence of dark energy.

Scientists found that dark energy makes up 74% of the Universe, dark matter makes up 22%, and ordinary matter (gas, stars, planets, and galaxies) makes up a mere 4%.

Cosmologist Bob Nicholl told BBC News that “This is a major step forward. These guys are serious, major scientists and we’ve been waiting for this result for some time.”