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The Most Detailed Dark Matter Map Ever Created

Illustration of what Dark Matter might look like

Scientists have recently released the most detailed dark matter map ever created, shedding new light on one of the universe's biggest mysteries. Dark matter, which makes up about 85% of the universe's matter, cannot be directly observed, but its effects can be detected through its gravitational pull on visible matter.

Atacama Cosmology Telescope Team Confirms Einstein’s Theory of Cosmic Structure Growth Shedding New right on Dark Matter.

Researchers have created the most detailed map of elusive dark matter to date, confirming Albert Einstein’s theory of cosmic structure growth and bending light over nearly 14 billion years of the universe’s existence.

A Glimpse into the Invisible Universe

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) collaboration produced a groundbreaking image, revealing an intricate map of dark matter spanning a quarter of the entire sky and extending deep into the cosmos.

Tracking Dark Matter with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope

Astronomer Neelima Sehgal of Stony Brook University and over 160 astronomers from around the world built and collected data from the NSF’s Atacama Cosmology Telescope in the Chilean Andes. They tracked how dark matter and other massive structures’ gravitational pull warps the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on its journey from the universe’s formation to our observation today.

Challenging Previous Dark Matter Maps

The new results contradict previous dark matter maps, which suggested that the cosmic web—a vast network of interconnecting celestial superhighways of hydrogen gas and dark matter throughout the universe—is less lumpy than Einstein’s theory predicted.

Einstein’s Theory Confirmed (Again)

Mathew Madhavacheril, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that the new mass map provides measurements that agree with the universe’s “clumpiness” and growth rate expected from Einstein’s gravity theory.

Shedding New Light on the Crisis of Cosmology

The study contributes to the ongoing debate on the “Crisis of Cosmology,” which revolves around the discrepancy in measuring the universe’s age and expansion rate. The new research supports Einstein’s theory of how massive structures grow and bend light over the universe’s entire age.

The Future of Gravitational Lensing Measurements

Astronomer and co-author Neelima Sehgal emphasizes the precision achievable with gravitational lensing measurements of the microwave background and the potential of future, more sensitive CMB experiments to improve our understanding of the universe’s physics.

A New Telescope on the Horizon

Although the ACT was decommissioned in September 2022 after 15 years of operation, researchers anticipate making new observations with a new telescope scheduled to begin operation in 2024, capable of mapping the sky nearly ten times faster than the ACT.

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