Researchers Created the First Composite Image of Dark Matter

Dark matter

Scientists captured the first composite photo of dark matter

Scientists have succeeded in unveiling some of the mystery revolving around dark matter by releasing the first composite image of it. They have always been predicting that this substance makes up around 25 percent of the universe, and now they have the proof.

The first image of dark matter

Researchers from the University of Waterloo were able to capture the amazing photo. Mike Hudson, astronomy professor at the aforementioned university, was part of the team which developed this study. He said that they now have the proof of the existence of dark matter and no longer have to make predictions about it.

Thus, now they can perform measurements and analyze the substance which spreads like a network and connects galaxies together. So far, dark matter has been so hard to detect and analyze because it neither absorbs nor reflects any kind of light. Thus, the traditional way did not work, and the only way to spot it was through gravity.

Using unconventional ways to spot dark matter

Therefore, the scientists had to find a way which involved gravity so that they could photograph dark matter. They developed a complex technique which is called weak gravitational lensing. This technique distorts our view of galaxies. It works like some sort of lens which magnifies distant galaxies and allows us to see them.

The lens is not actually there, but certain invisible masses from space have this distorting view effect due to gravity. These masses might be unseen planets, black holes, or, as it happened in our case, dark matter.

To gather all the data they needed, they used thousands of images captured by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope over a period of several years. Thus, they used the weak gravitational lensing technique and put together all these images. They contained 23,000 interconnected galaxies situated 4.5 billion light-years away.

What they obtained was proof of the existence of dark matter. They were not only able to see these dark matter filaments. They could also see how the filaments connected galaxies. This is a huge discovery, as many decades of intense research materialized into this composite image of the mysterious matter.

The researchers also developed a study which was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and it can be found here.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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