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The New Dark Matter Map Reveals Cosmic Mystery

The dark matter in our universe is just like a ghost that lives in our house. It is invisible but we can tell its presence by observing the surroundings (It is just an example, we don’t support the existence of ghosts). Dark matter can not be felt or observed directly. It does not interact with electromagnetic waves. The true nature of dark matter is still unknown. We know that it exists because of the powerful influence it exerts on space.

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The galaxies are clustered together but they move way faster than expected. This fact gives the idea of the presence of this invisible matter that is keeping these galaxies from falling apart. The estimated mass of dark matter in the universe is about 27%.

Data Representation of Matter (dark matter map)
Data Representation of Matter

A group of 400 scientists from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) obtained the largest dark matter map ever. Scientists can calculate the amount of dark matter present in the universe. This can be done by observing the light that reaches us from galaxies. If the light has been distorted, this means there is a matter that is bending the light. This is done by using gravitational lensing. This is a phenomenon that can occur when a huge amount of matter like a cluster of galaxies creates a very strong gravitational field. It is so strong that it distorts and magnifies the light from distant galaxies behind it.

The Brand New Dark Matter Map Published By Astronomers
The Brand New Dark Matter Map Published By Astronomers (Image: N. Jeffrey et. al/Dark Energy Survey Collaboration)

The DES used artificial intelligence to monitor images of over 100 million galaxies. They looked at their shapes to see if they have been stretched. The distribution of matter observed by the DES team is largely consistent with what the standard model predicted. It covers a quarter of the southern hemisphere sky. Though the model is just as predicted but researchers also found something new. The pattern is a web-like structure similar to that of visible matter. The structure with dense clumps of the matter is separated by large empty voids.

These structures are called cosmic voids that are very low-density regions of the universe. This new map also suggested that the matter is slightly too evenly spread. This will help in predicting the movement of galaxies in the future.

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