Scientists are confused by new discoveries about the mysterious dark matter of the universe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dark matter, the mysterious invisible material that makes up most galaxies, including our own galaxy, is again confusing scientists, with new observations of distant galaxies contradicting current understanding of its nature.

An undated NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the giant Galaxy Cluster MACSJ1206. NASA / ESA / G. Caminha (University of Groningen), m. Menegatti (Observational ics Strophysics and Space Science of Bologna), p. Natarajan (Yale University) / Clash Team and M.Sc. REOTRS via CornMasser / ESA / Hubble / Handout

Research published this week has uncovered an unexpected difference between observing the concentration of dark matter in three large clusters of trilogy galaxies and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed.

“Either no component is depleted in the simulations or we have made a fundamentally wrong assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan said in a study published in the journal Science on Friday.

Dark matter is the invisible glue that holds the constellations together inside the galaxy. It also creates an invisible scaffold that enables galaxies to form clusters. But it has very strange properties. It emits light, cannot absorb or reflect light and does not interact with any known particles.

Almost the %% of matter in the universe is considered dark matter, along with ordinary matter – the visible material that makes up stars, planets and people – only %%.

The presence of a dark object is known only by its gravitational pull on the visible object in space. It differs from the equally enigmatic and invisible dark energy raja, which is considered a property of space and is advancing the rapid expansion of the universe. Dark energy is hostile. Dark matter attracts by gravity.

The new study includes observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and a very large telescope from the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

When light from distant sources, such as distant galaxies, travels to other galaxies or to cluster-like objects, the light is distorted and twisted – a phenomenon known as “gravitational lensing”, said astrophysics and study author Mass Strophysics. . And Astrophysics for the National Institute of Space Science in Bologna and Italy.

New observations showed that the gravitational lensing effects produced by galaxies within large galaxy clusters were much stronger than the current dark matter theory could suggest, with an unexpectedly large concentration of dark matter in these galaxies.

“This is absolutely amazing,” Menegetti said.

Reported by Will Dunham; Edited by Sandra Mueller