This Is The Most Accurate Map Of Universe's Dark Matter To Date

Posted: Aug 6 2017, 5:47am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 6 2017, 6:02am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
This is the Most Accurate Map of Universe's Dark Matter to Date
Credit: University of Chicago and the DES collaboration.

The map represents the most detailed measurement yet of dark matter structure in the universe

Researchers have created new a map of universe’s dark matter and it represents the most accurate distribution of the invisible matter to date.

By surveying more than 26 million galaxies, researchers have carried out the most precise measurement of dark matter structure in the universe and translated this information into a comprehensive map. The map will help researchers better understand the evolution of universe over the past 14 billion years.

"This result is beyond exciting," said co-researcher Scott Dodelson from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. "For the first time, we're able to see the current structure of the universe with the same clarity that we can see its infancy, and we can follow the threads from one to the other, confirming many predictions along the way.”

The visible matter - that makes up sun, stars, planets and galaxies - only accounts 5 percent of the content of universe. The rest of the universe is made up of mysterious, invisible substance: 25 percent of dark matter and 70 percent of dark energy. Though researchers have never directly detected dark matter, they have proposed a variety of theories about the structure and distribution of dark matter in the universe.

In the latest effort, researchers look into the past and provide a window into today’s universe. The new map is basically the forecast from the measurements of distant past. Researchers believe that measurement of large-scale universe in the distant past is much easier than that of today’s universe.

The new Dark Energy Survey (DES) builds on Planck's earlier measurements. Planck’s mapping of cosmic microwave background radiation give researchers a snapshot of the universe at that very early time. Researchers then used a 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera to capture the images of light from galaxies eight billion light-years from Earth. The camera is build by Fermilab and it is among the most powerful cameras in existence.

Existence of dark matter can only be felt from the gravitational effect that it exerts on surrounding visible matter. Using gravitational lensing or bending of light caused by the presence of visible objects around the original light source, researchers have been able to map an eighth of the sky in unprecedented detail over the past five years. Further observations will begin later this year.

The new dark matter map is 10 times the size of the one DES map released in 2015. Once completed, it would be three times larger than the current one.

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