Largest ever dark matter map of the universe released

Largest ever dark matter map of the universe released

The largest ever dark map of the universe has been released.

Dark matter, which is not observable from Earth, is believed to make up about 80% of the matter in the universe.

A team of scientists from the International Dark Energy Survey (DES) created the new map – which covers a quarter of the southern hemisphere sky.

A deep-field image of one of the regions of space analyzed to plot the dark matter map

They did this by observing how light from distant galaxies was distorted on its way to Earth.

The presence of dark matter would bend the rays coming towards us.

Artificial intelligence analyzed the data to create the map.

About 100 million galaxies have been observed for the project. According to NASA, there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone.

The DES team was led by researchers from University College London.

Dr Niall Jeffrey, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL, was one of the main authors of the project.

He said: “Most of the matter in the universe is dark matter. It is a true wonder to have a glimpse of these vast structures hidden across much of the night sky.

“These structures are revealed using the distorted shapes of hundreds of millions of distant galaxies with dark energy camera photographs in Chile.

“On our map, which shows mostly dark matter, we see a pattern similar to visible matter only, a web-like structure with dense clumps of matter separated by large empty voids.

“Observing these structures on a cosmic scale can help us answer fundamental questions about the universe. “

The existence of dark matter can be inferred from the way galaxies move – they stay together and those in clusters move faster than expected.

Another author of the article, Professor Ofer Lahav, chair of the DES UK consortium and also a member of the UCL Physics and Astronomy team said: “Visible galaxies form in the densest regions. dark matter.

“When we look at the night sky, we see the light of the galaxy but not the surrounding dark matter, as if we are looking at the lights of a city at night.

The region in purple is the plotted map of dark matter, overlaid on an image of the Milky Way

“By calculating how gravity distorts light, a technique known as gravitational lensing, we get a complete picture, both of visible and invisible matter.

“It brings us closer to understanding the makeup of the universe and how it has evolved.

“It also shows the power of artificial intelligence methods to analyze one of the largest datasets in astronomy. “

DES research has supported the standard cosmological model of how the universe works.


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