Home Science Space Dark matter and ordinary matter separate as two massive galaxies collide

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Astronomers identify that dark matter is different from ordinary matter when they pointed the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory toward two very large merging galaxies that are forming the galactic cluster MACSJ0025.4-1222.


The abstract to the article, which is to be soon published in The Astrophysical Journal, is available online as “Revealing the properties of dark matter in the merging cluster MACSJ0025.4-1222,” within the Harvard University website.

Maruša Bradač, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, U.S.A., and Steven W. Allen, of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), USA, headed the team of researchers

Their team consists of Tommaso Treu, Harald Ebeling, Richard Massey, R. Glenn Morris, Anja von der Linden, and Douglas Applegate.

Dr. Bradač stated, "It is in our view an important step forward to understanding the properties of the mysterious dark matter." [MSBNC: “Dark matter detected in cosmic crash”]

The discovery helps to accumulate evidence that dark matter, a form of matter/energy, does indeed exist and provides a much better description for its physical nature.

Astronomers can only detect dark matter based on its gravitational effect on visible matter such as these gigantic galactic clusters. The research by Bradač and Allen appears to help decide whether dark matter interacts with itself other than through the force of gravity.

Dark matter is thought to account for about 22% of all matter/energy in the universe, at least according to research performed by astronomers using gravitational techniques.

About 4% of matter/energy in the universe consists of ordinary matter, while the remaining 74% consists of dark energy, another mysterious form of matter/energy found in the universe that is thought to be responsible for the universe to be expanding at an accelerating rate.

Please turn to page two so you can view the images of the pink ordinary matter and blue dark matter of the collision.

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University

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