The Name is Matter. Dark Matter

Last week, while many were awaiting news of fresh electro-gadgets from the CES in Las Vegas, The American Astronomical Society held its 219th meeting in Austin.

At the meeting, research was presented on a vast, one-billion-light-year-wide map showing lots of dark matter…

Astronomers have created a vast cosmic map revealing an intricate web of dark matter and galaxies spanning a distance of one billion light-years.

This unprecedented task was achieved not by observing dark matter directly, but by observing its gravitational effects on ancient light traveling from galaxies that existed when the Universe was half the age it is now.

Constructed by astronomers from the University of British Columbia and University of Edinburgh, this is the largest dark matter map ever built and took five years to complete.

The research was presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, on Monday.

Dark matter pervades the entire observable universe, accounting for 83 percent of the mass of the cosmos. But as it does not scatter or radiate light (or any kind of electromagnetic radiation for that matter), we cannot see it. Naturally, this poses an interesting problem for astronomers hoping to map the stuff.

However, astronomers can indirectly observe dark matter as its mass exerts a gravitational force on the space-time surrounding it. As light travels from distant galaxies, it will be bent around gravitational distortions in space-time — much like the paths of marbles rolling across a bent sheet of plastic — being caused by the dense regions of dark matter.

With this in mind, the international team of astronomers analyzed light from 10 million galaxies in four different regions of the sky — all of which are around 6 billion light-years from Earth.

And the CES? It wasn’t much fun, according to Pogue

C.E.S. really is primarily a deafening showcase for tablets, thin TV screens, superthin laptops and Android phones.

Check it out: the universe is 96% dark matter.


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