Exorcising W < −1


We show that the combined dimming of Type Ia supernovae induced by both a cosmological constant and the conversion of photons into axions in extra-galactic magnetic fields can impersonate dark energy with an equation of state w < −1. An observer unaware of the presence of photon-axion conversion would interpret the additional dimming as cosmic acceleration faster than that induced by a cosmological constant alone. We find that this mechanism can mimic equations of state as negative as w ≃ −1.5. Our model does not have any ghosts, phantoms and the like. It is fully consistent with the conventional effective field theory in curved space, and all existing observational constraints on the axions are obeyed.


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