The Accelerating Universe

The 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded for the discovery in the late 1990s of the accelerating universe. These researchers were using Type Ia supernovae as standard candles to measure distances back billions of years in the history of the universe; however astronomers are still far from understanding much of the underlying physics of these important events. I will discuss how and why these particular supernovae are used as one of our most effective cosmological probes and how large new surveys of the local universe are helping us to understand them.