Study sheds light on dark matter

Feb 06, 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: Invisibility cloak aspirations inspire new metasurface material

Related Stories

Galaxy survey to probe why the universe is accelerating

23 hours ago

We know that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, but what causes this growth remains a mystery. The most likely explanation is that a strange force dubbed "dark energy" is driving it. Now a ...

Is the universe ringing like a crystal glass?

Jun 26, 2015

Many know the phrase "the big bang theory." There's even a top television comedy series with that as its title. According to scientists, the universe began with the "big bang" and expanded to the size it ...

Exposed water ice detected on comet's surface

Jun 25, 2015

Using the high-resolution science camera on board ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, scientists have identified more than a hundred patches of water ice a few metres in size on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Recommended for you

The cosmic start of lightning

1 hour ago

Even though lightning is a common phenomenon, the exact mechanism triggering a lightning discharge remains elusive. Scientists at the Dutch national research institute for mathematics CWI, the University ...

User comments : 0

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.