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A Quarter of the Universe ...

Dark Matter makes up about 25% of the Universe, but we can’t see it or feel it (or hear it or anything it!) We can only tell it’s there by its effect on other things due to its gravity.

Dark Matter Enhanced

These six galaxy clusters have their Dark Matter shown in blue.

Dark Matter doesn’t interact with light, so it’s invisible. The blue shading has been added here by computer. The Dark Matter is found by looking at how light bends because the dark matter’s gravity has affected the shape of space.

NASA, ESA, D. Harvey (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland), R. Massey (Durham University, UK), the Hubble SM4 ERO Team, ST-ECF, ESO, D. Coe (STScI), J. Merten (Heidelberg/Bologna), HST Frontier Fields, Harald Ebeling(University of Hawaii at Manoa), Jean-Paul Kneib (LAM)and Johan Richard (Caltech, USA)

There’s a lot of Dark Matter out there. It causes so much gravity that galaxies clump together in clusters. Below is the Formax cluster about 60 million light years from Earth.

What about Dark Energy?

Don’t even ask! We know almost nothing about Dark Energy, but it needs to be about 70% of the Universe so that our observations of the Universe’s expansion make any sense at all.

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

Dark Matter detection challenge!

Try to make a model that shows how astronomers can work out where dark matter is.

Your Task

Stuff a pillow case with some bits of clothing – shirts and socks work well. Make some shapes with the stuffing so that there are hills and valleys on the top of the pillow case. If you roll a small ball or marble down over the surface, it will change direction following the shapes of the clothes.

The challenge is to get somebody else to try and draw out where they think the clothes ‘hills and valleys’ are from just watching the movement of the ball. You could really test them by taking a video like the one above.

If you have a glow in the dark ball and record a video of it with the lights off then only the ball will be visible, not the pillow shapes!

Scientists used the ball on the pillows idea, following the paths of light rays to make this map of Dark Matter in the Universe.

Image credit: NASA/ESA and R. Massey (California Institute of Technology)

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

Your Journey So Far …

Tanno and Iguda have explored these places up to now. You can go back and visit again by clicking below.

Universe

Black Holes

Dark Matter

Great to see you here, thank you for the visit! See you next time …

Tanno & Iguda