Study sheds light on dark matter

February 6, 2006

British astronomers say they have, for the first time, determined some of the physical characteristics of dark matter.

The researchers utilizing the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile used 23 hours of observing time to explore the strange material that dominates the universe, but which is invisible to current telescope technology because it emits no light or radiation, the BBC reported Monday.

The team from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge said it has determined how dark matter is "packed," as well as its "temperature," Professor Gerry Gilmore told the BBC.

Scientists estimate dark matter makes up more than 95 percent of all the mass in the universe.

The research team also concluded the Milky Way galaxy is more massive than thought.

"It now looks as though the Milky Way is the biggest galaxy in the local universe, bigger even than Andromeda," said Gilmore. "It was thought until just a few months ago that it was the other way around."

The Cambridge team expects to submit the first of its results to an astrophysics journal within the next few weeks.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Mysterious neutrinos take the stage at SLAC

Related Stories

Mysterious neutrinos take the stage at SLAC

September 24, 2015

Of all known fundamental particles, neutrinos may be the most mysterious: Although they are highly abundant in the universe and were discovered experimentally in 1956, researchers still have a lot left to learn about them. ...

Sentinel-2 catches eye of algal storm

September 7, 2015

The Sentinel-2A satellite has been in orbit for only a matter of weeks, but new images of an algal bloom in the Baltic Sea show that it is already exceeding expectations. Built essentially as a land monitoring mission, Sentinel-2 ...

Recommended for you

The culinary habits of the Stonehenge builders

October 13, 2015

A team of archaeologists at the University of York have revealed new insights into cuisine choices and eating habits at Durrington Walls – a Late Neolithic monument and settlement site thought to be the residence for the ...

A particle purely made of nuclear force

October 13, 2015

Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have calculated that the meson f0(1710) could be a very special particle – the long-sought-after glueball, a particle composed of pure force.

Dead comets and near-earth encounters

October 13, 2015

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, thereby posing a potentially threat. The asteroid that struck Chelyabinsk last year was an NEO about 40 meters in diameter. ...

Climate scientist hits out at IPCC projections

October 13, 2015

As a new chairman is appointed to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) a University of Manchester climate expert has said headline projections from the organisation about future warming are 'wildly over optimistic.'

Light-optics research could improve medical imaging

October 13, 2015

A team of researchers, including The University of Queensland's Dr Joel Carpenter, has developed echo-less lights that could improve medical imaging inside the body, leading to less-intrusive surgery.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.