Invisible, cold dark matter plays a major role in the evolution of galaxies, according to modern cosmological theory. The most advanced simulations of cosmic evolution show stringy tendrils of mass — dark matter — connecting giant clusters of galaxies via a vast cosmic web. Now for the first time, astronomers have been able to detect one of these filaments, sussing out its location by watching it warp light.
Is dark matter in danger? A few days after scientists said there’s no dark matter near our sun, a team of researchers in Germany now says there’s no dark matter in our galactic neighborhood. The team found a vast structure of globular clusters and satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way in a smooth, evenly distributed pattern. Most models of galactic distribution and evolution require the gravitational effects of dark matter, but in this model, it doesn’t seem to exist.
A dark matter particle smacks into an average person’s body about once a minute, and careens off oxygen and hydrogen nuclei in your cells, according to theoretical physicists. Dark matter is streaming through you as you read this, most of it unimpeded.
Summertime may be the right time for unmasking dark matter. Researchers working on a dark matter experiment buried half a mile underground in a Minnesota mine say they've seen seasonally varying blips in electrical pulses that may be the telltale signs of WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles.
Physicists are increasingly certain a mysterious force is driving the universe apart. If only they knew what it was.
By Tim FolgerPosted 12.29.2003 at 2:32 pm 0 Comments
For astronomers, 2003 brought some answers, more questions and a deepening conviction: Something strange is happening to the universe. In February a satellite operating a million miles from Earth made a series of measurements that were as baffling as they were precise. A mysterious repulsive force called dark energy accounts for 73 percent of the entire mass-energy of the universe, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) found; 23 percent consists of invisible dark matter, and only 4 percent of the universe is ordinary matter and energy.