Dark matter may actually have a smooth distribution as the matter is now believed to be more evenly spread and to be less dense.
The conclusion was reached during a new study on the subject. Dark matter still is a quite controversial subject which sparked its number of debates.
A new study released earlier this week may spark a new controversy. The team of researchers behind the study is made of university researchers from all over the world.
Such an international team had two lead researchers, Hendrik Hildebrandt and Massimo Viola. Hendrik Hildebrandt is a researcher of the Argelander-Institut for Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. Massimo Viola is part of the Netherlands-based Leiden Observatory.
The research was based on data gathered by the KiDS or Kilo Degree Survey. KiDS was carried out in Chile with the help of the ESO VLT Survey Telescope.
Analysis was based on data survey covering five patches of sky. These spanned over a total space area which encompassed about 15 million galaxies. The galaxies are spread over a total area which is almost 2,200 times bigger than our full Moon’s size.
Such gathered data was used so as to determine how light was affected by the matter’s gravitational influence.
More specifically they sought to observe the matter’s effects on the 15 million distant galaxies light. This offered an analysis of the dark matter’s influence on the largest universe scales.
Research results, however, could cause a new disagreement. Previously held, Planck satellite-based results indicate that the dark matter is distributed in dense, clumpy manner.
But the VST gathered high-quality images garnered a different result. Coupled with new and innovative computer software, a highly precise measurement was carried out. The measurement, as yet the most precise one, calculated the effects of the cosmic shear.
A cosmic shear effect of this size refers to the following. Light emitted by distant galaxies may be warped by the gravitational effect of large scale structures.
As they contain large amounts of matter, they lead to a weak gravitational lensing or its subtle variant.
Surveys such as KiDs have to be very deep and wide so as to measure the weak cosmic shear signal. Such measurements are used by astronomers in mapping out the distribution of gravitating matter.
The current study covered the as yet largest space area to be mapped with the help of this technique. However, its results were somewhat different from the Plank mission.
Planck is the European Space Agency’s leading satellite in charge of probing the universe. As the mission seeks to discover the fundamental properties of space, it registered different values.
When determining the consistency of dark matter, KiDS data presented a significantly lower value than the Planck-derived data.
The aforementioned lead, Viola, went to explain the difference’s significance. According to him, the key cosmological parameter, dark matter, may be less clumpy than believed.
As it makes up for almost one-quarter of the cosmic web, the discovery could have significant consequences in space studies.
Dark matter is one of the most elusive space elements. Its existence and presence are measured based on its gravitational effects.
Studies such KiDS or Planck are used so as to determine its shape, distribution, and scale.
The different results garnered by the two studies may lead to a rethinking of current space models if the dark matter is demonstrated to actually be smoothly distributed.
According to the other lead, Hildebrandt, the recent discovery could lead to a refining of the current theoretical models. These models seek to determine the evolution of the Universe. As such, they are studying the changes that took place since its inception.
Konrad Kuijken, the KiDS principal investigator, concludes that further studies should be carried out. Future research should be able to clear the discrepancies by repeating the measurements.
As such, they could help offer a clearer view as to what the Universe is trying to tell us.
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