Astronomers Investigate Dark Matter’s ‘Missing Component’

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A new study found that small-scale dark matter concentrations caused 10 times stronger lensing effect than expected. This discovery could help astronomers gain more insight into dark matter in the future.

Scientists have once again realized that when it comes to dark matter, a few pieces of the puzzle are missing. In research so far, it has been realized that dark matter makes up more than a quarter of the universe, but we do not yet know how to see this matter directly. The reason for this is that the material does not emit, absorb or reflect light in any way.

The existence of this non-luminous substance can only be determined by its gravitational effect on other substances. As researchers around the world investigate the nature and composition of this mysterious substance, a study published in the journal Science suggests dark matter theories may be missing an important component.

The team produced a high-accuracy dark matter map:

Using observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope (VLT), a team of astronomers found that small-scale clusters of dark matter caused 10 times more lensing effects than previously believed. This phenomenon, also known as gravitational lensing, is believed to explain the dark matter inconsistency.

As part of the research, observations of three different celestial island clusters collected by two telescopes, Hubble and VLT, were used. Using this map, scientists traced lensing distortions by examining how matter distorts light and mapping dark matter in clusters with high accuracy.

Speaking about the research, team member Piero Rosati said, “The data from Hubble and the VLT provided a perfect synergy. We were able to associate the galaxies with each cluster and estimate their distances.”

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Among the large bends astronomers expected to find, smaller bent areas were also detected. When dark matter maps were combined with the model’s predictions of what dark matter might look like in cluster galaxies, the two scenes did not match. This means that scientists are still unable to solve the riddle of how dark matter behaves.

The discovery of this incompatibility could help astronomers design better computer simulation models so they can better understand what dark matter clusters are, ultimately discovering what this abundant and dominant form of matter really is.


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