A giant string of dark matter has been discovered from the study of the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223. Scientists found that the clusters are connected by a dark matter filament, shown here. This is the first observation of dark matter. Image credit: Jörg Dietrich, University of Michigan/University Observatory Munich.
Like all galaxies, our Milky Way is home to a strange substance called dark matter. Dark matter is invisible, betraying its presence only through its gravitational pull. Without dark matter holding them together, our galaxy’s speedy stars would fly off in all directions. The nature of dark matter is a mystery — a mystery that a new study has only deepened.
Scientists working on the Cryogenic Rare Event Search with Superconducting Thermometers (CRESST) experiment may have recorded evidence of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) – a crucial step towards solving the mystery of ‘dark matter’, a material thought to make up the huge majority of the matter in the universe, but which is extremely difficult to detect.
The universe around us is not what it appears to be. The stars make up less than 1 percent of its mass; all the loose gas and other forms of ordinary matter, less than 5 percent. The motions of this visible material reveal that it is mere flotsam on an unseen sea of unknown material.
This image of super-cluster Abell 2744 captures the wreckage of a collision between four smaller galaxy clusters. New data let astronomers map the positions of three different kinds of matter in the system, which may offer clues to how dark matter behaves when it smacks into ordinary matter.