There are many mysteries surrounding the study of space.
Dark matter is one of them, no one has ever actually seen it, so how do we know if it’s even real?
There is more unknown than is known about dark matter, so it remains a huge mystery to scientists.
The mystery leaves many of us wondering more about dark matter, but unsure where to get the answers we need from.
And that’s where we come in!
This article will discuss the dark matter theory, where it comes from, and why scientists are trying to learn more about it.
What Is Dark Matter?
Before we get into it, let’s have a quick recap and look at what dark matter is!
Dark matter is distributed across the universe as a net-like pattern.
Over 80% of all of the mass in the universe is made of stuff scientists haven’t seen before.
We can only assume that it exists because if it didn’t, the behavior of stars and planets wouldn’t make any sense.
Here is what scientists know about it, or at least what they think they do.
Dark Matter Is Invisible
Dark matter is completely invisible. Scientists think it might consist of baryons (protons, neutrons, and electrons), but they aren’t sure.
Dark matter is thought to be made of something called WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles).
Scientists believe these particles are 10 to 100 times as massive as protons and that they may be the leading candidates for what makes up dark matter.
There are other theories about dark matter, including sterile neutrinos.
There are three known types of Neutrinos; a fourth type, the Sterile Neutrino, is proposed to hold the same role as dark matter.
The smaller Neutral Axion and Photino are also theoretical particles that are potential placeholders for dark matter.
There is also such a thing called antimatter, which is the exact opposite of normal matter. Antimatter is not the same as regular matter.
When antiparticles come together, a big explosion happens.
We know that there isn’t much antimatter around because if there was, there wouldn’t be anything left.
Antimatter doesn’t exist naturally in our world, but scientists can make it in labs.
Why Do Scientists Think Dark Matter Exists?
When scientists study the motion of stars in galaxy clusters, they discover the stars move together as though they were bound by some unseen force.
This means there must be an additional amount of matter in the cluster that we can’t see.
Scientists believe this invisible matter is likely made up of particles that interact very weakly with normal matter.
These particles may be elementary particles such as neutrinos or WIMPs.
Astronomers have created a map of dark matter using gravitational lenses.
Gravitational lenses are huge collections of galaxies that act as magnifying glasses.
When light passes near them, it gets bent or deflected. This allows scientists to study the distribution of dark matter in space.
Where Is Dark Matter From?
Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) were first proposed by physicists studying elementary particle physics in the 1960s.
In some models, dark matter consists of weakly interacting massive neutrinos.
This theory was first proposed in 1983 by physicist Lisa Randall.
Neutrinos are subatomic particles that interact very rarely with ordinary matter.
Scientists believe that neutrinos are produced when stars collapse at the end of their lives and explode as supernovae.
When these exploding stars produce large numbers of neutrinos, they become part of the dark matter in the universe.
Dark matter was created in the Big Bang along with all other elements of the universe.
White dwarfs, neutron stars, and brown dwarfs are stellar remnants that may hold large amounts of dark matter.
Black holes are the most massive collapsed objects known to exist, and scientists believe that they are highly concentrated in dark matter.
How Do We Study Dark Matter?
Dark Matter can be studied by observing how galaxies cluster together in space.
Scientists use particle physics to try to detect the fundamental particles that make up dark matter.
A detector on the ISS measures antimatter in cosmic rays. These measurements provide insight into what dark matter is.
We’ve found evidence of dark matter, but we’re not sure if it’s from the stuff that makes up our universe or if something else does.
We do know that dark matter is made up of particles that interact weakly with normal matter.
This means that we should be able to detect them by looking at how much energy they absorb or emit as they pass through our bodies.
However, because these particles are very heavy, there isn’t any way of detecting them directly.
Instead, scientists use telescopes to look for the effects of dark matter on other things.
For example, when a galaxy moves through space, it bends the light around it.
By measuring this bending, astronomers can calculate how fast the galaxy is moving, and therefore work out what kind of object it must be.
By studying how stars move around galaxies, astronomers can work out how much dark matter there is in each galaxy.
So far, astronomers think that there is more than enough dark matter to explain why the universe looks the way it does.
Hopefully, we’ll know more when we get more scientific data in the future.
Instruments Used In Dark Matter Study
XENON1T is a large underground detector that hunts for WIMPs. LUX is an underground detector that hunts for WIMPs.
Both instruments haven’t found any evidence of dark matter yet.
Types Of Dark Matter
There are two types of dark matter:
- ordinary matter
- dark energy
Ordinary matter makes up everything we see around us. Dark energy is responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe.
Who Is Studying Dark Matter?
Several organizations are studying dark matter. Let’s take a closer look at these now.
The Ice Cube Neutrinos Observatory is searching for sterile neutrinos.
These neutrinos are hypothesized as being the missing link between normal matter and dark matter.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research has several experiments looking for these particles.
The European Space Agency recently launched a satellite called Planck, which mapped the distribution of the cosmic background radiation, a remnant of the big bang.
This information was used to reveal irregularities in the distribution of dark matter in the universe.
NASA’s Fermi telescope detected gamma rays coming from the center of the Milky Way.
These gamma rays were caused by collisions between pairs of electrons and positrons, which are antimatter versions of electrons and protons.
Dark matter is a form of matter that doesn’t emit light but still interacts with normal matter.
The signal was discovered by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope.
The results suggest that there is more than what is expected by current theories.
The JWST will help us observe dark matter indirectly. It will be able to study the early universe, which could give us clues about dark matter.
Dark matter is a mysterious substance that is thought to make up a large amount of the mass of the Universe.
Scientists still don’t know exactly what it is made of, but they think it could be a new type of particle.
A tiny fraction of physicists believes that dark matter isn’t real.
They say that gravity should work the way we expect it to, and that dark matter doesn’t exist.
Dark matter and dark energy are both strange phenomena, and only more years of scientific study will reveal further secrets about dark matter and the mystery of space in general.
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