New Findings on Universe’s Dark Matter Confound Scientists

Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up a lot of the mass of galaxies together with our personal Milky Way, is confounding scientists once more, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the present understanding of its nature.

Research published this week revealed an sudden discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three large clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical laptop simulations of how darkish matter needs to be distributed.

“Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a co-author of the research published within the journal Science, mentioned on Friday.

Dark matter is the invisible glue that holds stars collectively inside a galaxy. It additionally creates an invisible scaffold that allows galaxies to kind clusters. But it has very peculiar properties. It doesn’t emit, soak up or mirror gentle and doesn’t work together with any identified particles.

The bulk of the matter within the universe, about 96 p.c, is considered darkish matter, with abnormal matter – the seen stuff that makes up stars, planets and other people – a mere four p.c.

Dark matter’s presence is thought solely by means of its gravitational pull on seen matter in area. It differs from the equally enigmatic and unseen darkish vitality, which is taken into account a property of area and is driving the universe’s accelerated growth. Dark vitality is repulsive. Dark matter attracts by means of gravity.

The new research concerned observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

When the sunshine from distant sources like faraway galaxies travels by means of matter akin to one other galaxy or a cluster of them, the sunshine is deflected and bends – a phenomenon known as “gravitational lensing,” mentioned astrophysicist and research lead writer Massimo Meneghetti of the Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science in Bologna and National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy.

The new observations confirmed that gravitational lensing results produced by galaxies residing inside the massive galaxy clusters had been far stronger than present darkish matter principle envisioned, suggesting an unexpectedly giant focus of darkish matter in these galaxies.

“This is quite surprising,” Meneghetti mentioned.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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