The largest map of dark matter in universe created
WASHINGTON - Agence France-PresseInternational astronomers said Dec. 9 they have created the largest map of dark matter ever observed in the universe, using data from potent telescopes that scanned 10 million galaxies.
The mysterious substance is believed to make up about a quarter of the universe, but its nature is a puzzle because it can be detected only indirectly through the gravitational pull it exerts on visible matter.
To make the new map, astronomers studied how light emitted from galaxies is distorted as it passes by big clumps of dark matter in its travel toward Earth.
The result is an “intricate cosmic web of dark matter and galaxies that spans more than one billion light years,” said the findings by astronomers at the University of British Columbia and University of Edinburgh.
“It is fascinating to be able to ‘see’ the dark matter using space-time distortion,” said Ludovic Van Waerbeke of UBC who worked on the project.
“By analyzing light from the distant universe, we can learn about what it has traveled through on its journey to reach us,” said Catherine Heymans, a lecturer in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy.