Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers Discover Largest-ever Dark Matter Structures Spanning 270M Light-years

Date:
February 22, 2008
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Astronomer have discovered the largest structures of dark matter ever seen. Measuring 270 million light-years across, these dark matter structures criss-cross the night sky, each spanning an area that is eight times larger than the full moon.

This older image shows how dark matter (blue) has become separated from luminous matter (red) in the bullet cluster. Astronomers have now discovered the largest structures of dark matter ever seen.
Credit: Image courtesy of Chandra X-ray Observatory

A University of British Columbia astronomer with an international team has discovered the largest structures of dark matter ever seen. Measuring 270 million light-years across, these dark matter structures criss-cross the night sky, each spanning an area that is eight times larger than the full moon.

"The results are a major leap forward since the presence of a cosmic dark matter web that extends over such large distances has never been observed before," says Ludovic Van Waerbeke, an assistant professor in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.

To glimpse the unseen structures, the team of French and Canadian scientists "X-rayed" the dark matter, an invisible web that makes up more than 80 per cent of the mass of the universe.

The team used a recently developed technique called "weak gravitational lensing," which is similar to taking an X-ray of the body to reveal the underlying skeleton. The study relied on data gathered from the world's largest digital camera.

"This new knowledge is crucial for us to understand the history and evolution of the cosmos," says Van Waerbeke. "Such a tool will also enable us to glimpse a little more of the nature of dark matter."

The astronomers observed how light from distant galaxies is bent and distorted by webs of dark matter as it travels toward Earth. They then mapped dark matter structures by measuring the distortions seen in these galaxy light patterns.

The study involved 19 researchers from 11 institutions and was led by UBC, the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, the Universite Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) and the University of Victoria. Van Waerbeke and his co-authors will publish their findings in a forthcoming issue of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The submission can be seen at: http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.0884.

The team spent several years developing the gravitational lensing tool, which is one of the major goals of the Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope (CFHT) Legacy Survey.

The gravitational lensing technique also played a pivotal role in another recent UBC first: UBC astrophysicist Catherine Heymans and Van Waerbeke produced jointly with an international team the highest resolution map ever of dark matter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Astronomers Discover Largest-ever Dark Matter Structures Spanning 270M Light-years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080221121109.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2008, February 22). Astronomers Discover Largest-ever Dark Matter Structures Spanning 270M Light-years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080221121109.htm
University of British Columbia. "Astronomers Discover Largest-ever Dark Matter Structures Spanning 270M Light-years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080221121109.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Unmanned Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2014) The rocket, built and operated by Space Exploration Technologies, carries a Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies and equipment destined for the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The newly-discovered planet is roughly the size of Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins