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David Reneke's World of Space and Astronomy

Researchers Find Universe’s ‘Missing Matter’

12 Oct 2017, 04:26 UTC
Researchers Find Universe’s ‘Missing Matter’

Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library / Getty

(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The universe huge and stretches mind-blowingly far , so one of the best ways we have to find out more about it is to recreate the universe inside a computer and study that simulation.

Studying simulations is how we’ve learned the structure of dark matter, for instance. But those simulations also predict that all the galaxies in the universe should be connected with long filaments of regular matter that, until recently, we’d never observed. Now, two teams of scientists finally succeeded in spotting those filaments, proving that our universe simulations are correct.

For decades now, the simulations we’ve run have predicted the existence of long strands of baryons-particles like protons and neutrons-in the space between galaxies, connecting them together. Our current theories of how the universe formed predict ten times as many baryons as we can see inside the galaxies, and scientists believe these filaments hold the remaining 90 percent.

That’s why detecting these filaments is so important. If those filaments aren’t there, or are smaller or larger than we predict, then something might be wrong with the theories. The problem is that the filaments are so sparse and cold that they’re too faint to see them with any of ...

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