cosmological constant

The cosmological constant is a constant term that Einstein originally included in his formulation of general relativity. It has the physical effect of pushing the universe apart. Einstein's intent was to make his equations describe a static universe. After astronomical evidence clearly indicated that the size of the universe is changing, Einstein abandoned the cosmological constant though other astrophysicists, such as Georges Lemaître and Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, thought it might be the source of cosmic expansion. The cosmological constant is a simple explanation of dark energy consistent with the observations; however, it is not the only possible explanation, and the value of the cosmological constant consistent with observation is over 60 orders of magnitude different from what theory predicts.