Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers reach new frontiers of dark matter

Date:
January 10, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
For the first time, astronomers have mapped dark matter on the largest scale ever observed. New findings reveal a Universe comprising an intricate cosmic web of dark matter and galaxies spanning more than one billion light years.

The observations show that dark matter in the Universe is distributed as a network of gigantic dense (white) and empty (dark) regions, where the largest white regions are about the size of an Earth moon on the sky.
Credit: Van Waerbeke, Heymans and the CFHTLenS Collaboration

Astronomers have mapped dark matter on the largest scale ever observed. New findings reveal a Universe comprising an intricate cosmic web of dark matter and galaxies spanning more than one billion light years.

The School's Dr Catherine Heymans and Associate Professor Ludovic Van Waerbeke of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, will present the results January 9 to the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas.

An international team of researchers led by Van Waerbeke and Heymans achieved their results by analysing images of about 10 million galaxies in four different regions of the sky. They studied the distortion of the light emitted from these galaxies, which is bent as it passes massive clumps of dark matter during its journey to Earth.

Their project -- known as the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey (CFHTLenS) -- uses data from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey. This accumulated images over five years using the wide field imaging camera MegaCam, a 1 degree by 1 degree field-of-view, 340 Megapixel camera on the CFHT in Hawaii.

Galaxies included in the survey are typically six billion light years away. The light captured by the images used in the study was emitted when the Universe was six billion years old -- roughly half the age it is today.

The team's result has been suspected for a long time from studies based on computer simulations, but was difficult to verify owing to the invisible nature of dark matter. This is the first direct glimpse of dark matter on large scales showing the cosmic web in all directions.

Dr Thomas Kitching is the Cosmology Working Group coordinator, based in the School's Institute for Astronomy. "The dark matter map we have produced looks back over 75% of the age of the Universe, to a time when it was very different to today. By tracking the evolution of the Universe over cosmic time, the team at Edinburgh will investigate how dark energy has come to dominate the present day Universe.

"Over the next few months we will be using this data to map the evolution of the expansion of the Universe and learn about dark energy, which is causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. We will test theories of gravity itself to determine if Einstein's general relativity is correct or not. We will also use it to determine the properties of neutrinos, ghostly particles that interact with normal matter only very weakly."

The research was supported by the European Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Astronomers reach new frontiers of dark matter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132703.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, January 10). Astronomers reach new frontiers of dark matter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132703.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Astronomers reach new frontiers of dark matter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132703.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) — Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) — A U.S.-Russian space crew has blasted off successfully for the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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