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Keywords:

  • cosmology: theory

We present a new interpretation of recent observations suggesting that the expansion of the Universe has recently started to accelerate. A cosmological model with a quintessence field driven by a potential motivated by M-theory is used to study the energy density and equation of state for the Universe. We find that late-time acceleration does not have to lead to the usual predictions of perpetual acceleration. The model allows another broad class of scenarios in which today's acceleration is a transient phenomenon, which is succeeded by a return to matter domination and decelerating expansion.