Astronomers have just made a revolutionary and innovative contribution to modern cosmology: they have created the most detailed map of the mysterious dark matter spread across a quarter of the sky and extending into the depths of the universe. The new photo once again proves that Albert Einstein was right.
For thousands of years, humans, equipped only with their senses, have shown their curiosity about the mysteries of the universe. Now science has advanced a lot and astronomers use modern tools to study its origins, its evolution, and how the universe was formed.
It was just over 100 years ago when Albert Einstein proposed the general theory of relativity, and thanks to this we know that gravity is a warp of space-time due to the presence of mass and energy. This theory is known and respected for its powerful predictions that sound like science fiction, but in the end they are found to be true.
In a recent study, researchers from the Atacama Cosmic Telescope (ACT) have created an image that reveals the most detailed map of dark matter. Dark matter makes up 85% of the matter in the universe, but we know almost nothing about it because it doesn’t interact with practically anything we can detect; As far as we know, it only interacts with gravity. To create the map, scientists look at the light emitted after the dawn of the universe’s formation, just 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
“We have drawn a map of invisible dark matter across the sky to the farthest distances, and we clearly see the features of this invisible world that extends for hundreds of millions of light years,” Blake Sherwin said in a statementProfessor of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, where he leads a group of ACT researchers. “It looks just as our theories predict.”
This new map of dark matter confirms Einstein’s theory of how massive structures grow and bend light, over the roughly 14-billion-year lifetime of the universe, the researchers explain. Specifically, the way this exotic matter is distributed appears to match cosmological models based on general relativity.
“We have produced a new mass map using optical anomalies left over from the Big Bang,” Matthew said Madhavashirel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. “Surprisingly, it provides measurements that show that both the ‘bulge’ of the universe, and its rate of growth after 14 billion years of evolution, are just what we would expect from our standard gravity-based model of cosmology,” said Einstein.
“When I first saw them, our measurements agreed so well with the basic theory that it took me a while to process the results.” added Frank Ko, PhD student at the University of Cambridge, is part of the research team. “It will be interesting to see how this potential discrepancy between different measurements is resolved.”
Research presented in “Future Science with CMB x LSS” at the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics at Kyoto University.
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