Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Scientists Detect 'Missing' Half of Universe's Matter

 Two teams of astronomers at the Institute of Space Astrophysics (IAS) in Orsay, France, and the University of Edinburgh, have discovered the missing link that connects galaxies in the universe. This unseen matter accounts for half of the matter that should exist in these vast gaps between galaxies, stars, and other objects in space.
 The two teams confirmed that this missing, ordinary matter is in the form of filaments of hot, diffuse gas linking galaxies together. While this has long been predicted to be the case, these gaseous filaments are impossible to detect using traditional X-ray telescopes.
 To get around this problem, both teams utilized the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect to find these filaments. Essentially, this phenomenon occurs when leftover light from the Big Bang passes through hot gas, leaving behind a trace of these gases that can be photographed.
 Using data collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, each team chose pairs of galaxies that were hypothesized to be connected by baryon strands. The team at IAS combined 260,000 pairs of galaxies, while the Edinburgh team used over a million pairs, producing similar results. In short, both teams found definite evidence of the existence of gaseous filaments between the galaxies.
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