New Map of Dark Matter Breaks Scientists’ Understanding of Physics

“The results appear to challenge current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics.”

Dark Matter is a hypothetical form of matter that is believed to account for as much as 85% of all matter in the known cosmos, and about a quarter of its total energy density.

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy cluster MACS J0416. This is one of six being studied by the Hubble Frontier Fields programme, which together have produced the deepest images of gravitational lensing ever made. Scientists used intracluster light (visible in blue) to study the distribution of dark matter within the cluster. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Montes (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia).

We can’t see dark matter, and we can’t detect it – but we are the ability to observe how it interacts gravitationally with the things we are able to see and detect, such as light.

Using one of the most powerful telescopes on the world, scientists analyzed the effects of dark matter across 10 million galaxies in the context of Einstien’s general relativity.

They analyzed the images of 10 million galaxies taken with the massive 870 megapixel Subaru telescope in Hawaii.

Visualisation of the dark matter map (lighter = more dark matter) based on the lensing produced by galaxies, indicated by white lines. (HSC project/UTokyo)
Visualization of the dark matter map (lighter = more dark matter) based on the lensing produced by galaxies, indicated by white lines. (HSC project/UTokyo)

Eventually, they’ve come up with a never-before-seen map of dark matter across the history of the universe to date.

The map, however, breaks our understanding of modern physics, as it indicates that dark matter structures may be evolving much slower than previous estimates.

“If further data shows we’re definitely right, then it suggests something is missing from our current understanding of the Standard Model and the general theory of relativity,” physicist Chiaki Hikage explained in a press release.

This is very confusing for experts.

We don’t really know what dark matter is.

But we do know that the gravitational effects we’ve spotted in the cosmos can’t be accounted for by observable matter alone.

The newly published map indicates that dark matter in the cosmos formed much slower than previously thought, and the results “appear to challenge current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics,” according to the press release.

And while the map is a revolutionary new piece of data that will help us understand dark matter better, it needs to be corroborated.

“With a little more work, if we can get better accuracy, we might be able to find something concrete,” Hikage said in the press release.

“This is a big motivating factor for me.”

Via
Science Alert
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