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Scientists create highest-resolution 3D maps of dark matter

Last Updated: Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 15:46

New Delhi: In yet another addition to science, scientists have created one of the highest-resolution 3D maps of dark matter ever, offering detailed evidence for the existence of the elusive particles believed to make up about 80 per cent of the universe.

The dark matter map is derived from Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields data of a trio of galaxy clusters that act as cosmic magnifying glasses to peer into older, more distant parts of the universe, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

"With the data of these three lensing clusters we have successfully mapped the granularity of dark matter within the clusters in exquisite detail," said Priyamvada Natarajan, astrophysicist at the Yale University in the US.

"We have mapped all of the clumps of dark matter that the data permit us to detect, and have produced the most detailed topological map of the dark matter landscape to date," said Natarajan.

Scientists believe dark matter - theorised, unseen particles that neither reflect nor absorb light, but are able to exert gravity - may comprise 80 per cent of the matter in the universe.

Dark matter may explain the very nature of how galaxies form and how the universe is structured.

Experiments at Yale and elsewhere are attempting to identify the dark matter particle; the leading candidates include axions and neutralinos.

(With IANS inputs)

First Published: Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 15:46
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