Scientists Shed More Light On The Composition Of Universe

Posted: Dec 3 2015, 8:03pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Scientists Shed More Light on the Composition of Universe
Image shows the large-scale distribution of matter, with filaments and knots. Credit:V.Springel, Max-Planck Institut für Astrophysik

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The ordinary matter, which makes up 5 percent of our universe, exists in the form of a 'cosmic web' of very hot gas.

Most of our universe is made up of dark matter while just the 5% of it consists of ordinary matter and at least half of this amount had not been detected by the scientists until now.

The new study suggests that the rest of the percentage exists in the form of a ‘cosmic web’ of very hot gas and its filaments are flowing inside a cluster of galaxies. Researchers from University of Geneva, Switzerland have made direct observations of this phenomenon for the first time.

When ordinary matter cools down, it forms galaxies. To understand the origins of galaxy formation, it is important to look closely at this ordinary matter.

For the study, researchers used the XMM space telescope which has the capacity of detecting very hot gas. Then, they observed a massive cluster of galaxies, Abell 2744, which contains both the dark and ordinary matter at its center and presumably tracked down the matter known as ‘missing baryon.’

A large-scale galactic survey shows that ordinary matter is present in the form of filamentary structure. The filaments experience the highest gravitational force collapse and create a network of knots and links called ‘cosmic web'.

The complex structure of intergalactic filaments exists at temperatures between 100,000 and 10 million degrees and it is the first time when the temperature and density of these objects have been measured. These findings shed more light on the composition of the universe.

“Now we must verify that the discovery of Abell 2744's missing baryons is applicable to the entire universe. This will consist in studying these filamentary regions in detail and measuring their temperature distribution and the various atoms that compose them, in order to understand how many heavy elements there are in the universe.” Dominique Eckert, lead author of the study said.

In order to collect more details, the European Space Agency (ESA) is developing a new space telescope, named Athena. The telescope is expected to start functioning mid-2020s.

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