“DARK MATTER CAPTURED IN FIRST-EVER PHOTO”
Astronomers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have produced what they say is the first ever composite image of a dark matter filament that connects galaxies together. Making up around 27 percent of the universe, dark matter is a substance that has eluded the eyes of astronomers for a long time due to it being almost virtually impossible to detect (it does not give off, reflect or absorb light).
In their work, Mike Hudson and co-author Seth Epps, a professor of astronomy and a master’s student respectively at Waterloo, employed a technique called weak gravitational lensing – tiny measurements of the slight bends that occur when light passes near a mass – to capture the photo. This effect had produced photos of galaxies that appeared slightly warped – all due to the presence of dark matter.
By taking a catalogue full of galaxy cluster pairs that were lensed and another catalogue full of background source galaxies, the duo ‘stacked’ more than 23,000 pairs to create a composite image that showed the presence of dark matter between galaxies.
“By using this technique, we’re not only able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,“ Epps said in a statement.
Read more about this fascinating story at: http://www.space.com/36495-astronomers-capture-the-first-image-of-the-dark-matter-that-holds-the-universe-together.html