Darkish matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up a lot of the mass of galaxies together with our personal Milky Approach, is confounding scientists once more, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the present understanding of its nature.
Analysis published this week revealed an sudden discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three huge clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical pc simulations of how darkish matter ought to be distributed.
“Both there’s a lacking ingredient within the simulations or we now have made a elementary incorrect assumption concerning the nature of darkish matter,” Yale College astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a co-author of the examine published within the journal Science, stated on Friday.
Darkish matter is the invisible glue that holds stars collectively inside a galaxy. It additionally creates an invisible scaffold that allows galaxies to type clusters. However it has very peculiar properties. It doesn’t emit, take up or mirror mild and doesn’t work together with any identified particles.
The majority of the matter within the universe, about 96 %, is regarded as darkish matter, with bizarre matter – the seen stuff that makes up stars, planets and folks – a mere 4 %.
Darkish matter’s presence is thought solely by its gravitational pull on seen matter in house. It differs from the equally enigmatic and unseen darkish vitality, which is taken into account a property of house and is driving the universe’s accelerated enlargement. Darkish vitality is repulsive. Darkish matter attracts by gravity.
The brand new examine concerned observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Giant Telescope in Chile.
When the sunshine from distant sources like faraway galaxies travels by matter resembling one other galaxy or a cluster of them, the sunshine is deflected and bends – a phenomenon referred to as “gravitational lensing,” stated astrophysicist and examine lead creator Massimo Meneghetti of the Observatory of Astrophysics and House Science in Bologna and Nationwide Institute for Astrophysics in Italy.
The brand new observations confirmed that gravitational lensing results produced by galaxies residing inside the massive galaxy clusters have been far stronger than present darkish matter concept envisioned, suggesting an unexpectedly giant focus of darkish matter in these galaxies.
“That is fairly shocking,” Meneghetti stated.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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