Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
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11-01-2012, 11:36 AM
Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/01/0...er-mapped/
Quote:Billion Light-Year Wide Web of Dark Matter Mapped

Published January 09, 2012 | Discovery News



Astronomers have created a vast cosmic map revealing an intricate web of dark matter and galaxies spanning a distance of one billion light-years.

This unprecedented task was achieved not by observing dark matter directly, but by observing its gravitational effects on ancient light traveling from galaxies that existed when the Universe was half the age it is now.

Constructed by astronomers from the University of British Columbia and University of Edinburgh, this is the largest dark matter map ever built and took five years to complete.

The research was presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, on Monday.

ANALYSIS: Mapping Dark Matter with a Cosmic Lens

Dark matter pervades the entire observable universe, accounting for 83 percent of the mass of the cosmos. But as it does not scatter or radiate light (or any kind of electromagnetic radiation for that matter), we cannot see it. Naturally, this poses an interesting problem for astronomers hoping to map the stuff.

However, astronomers can indirectly observe dark matter as its mass exerts a gravitational force on the space-time surrounding it. As light travels from distant galaxies, it will be bent around gravitational distortions in space-time -- much like the paths of marbles rolling across a bent sheet of plastic -- being caused by the dense regions of dark matter.

SCIENCE CHANNEL VIDEO: Dark Energy

With this in mind, the international team of astronomers analyzed light from 10 million galaxies in four different regions of the sky -- all of which are around 6 billion light-years from Earth. As these galaxies are six billion light-years away, it took the light six billion years to travel that distance.

ANALYSIS: Dark Matter Mystery Unraveled by Dwarf Galaxies?

Using a 340 Megapixel camera called "MegaCam" attached to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii, the ancient galactic light was analyzed to reveal the distorted paths each source traveled thereby revealing the gravitational terrain surrounding clouds of dark matter.

"It is fascinating to be able to 'see' the dark matter using space-time distortion," said Ludovic Van Waerbeke from the University of British Columbia.

"It gives us privileged access to this mysterious mass in the Universe which cannot be observed otherwise."

Catherine Heymans, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, added: "By analyzing light from the distant Universe, we can learn about what it has traveled through on its journey to reach us. We hope that by mapping more dark matter than has been studied before, we are a step closer to understanding this material and its relationship with the galaxies in our Universe."

Both Heymans and Van Waerbeke lead the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey (CFHTLenS) team.

ANALYSIS: How Low Can a Dark Matter Halo Go?

It is now hoped that other observatories -- such as the Very Large Telescope's (VLT) Survey Telescope in Chile -- will build on the CFHTLenS feat and create an even bigger dark matter map.

"Over the next three years we will image more than 10 times the area mapped by CFHTLenS, bringing us ever closer to our goal of understanding the mysterious dark side of the Universe," said Koen Kuijken of Leiden University.

Understanding the nature of dark matter is critical to our knowledge of how the Universe evolved to form planets, stars and galaxies. Mapping this vast -- yet invisible -- cosmic web is a big step in that direction.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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11-01-2012, 01:14 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
Frickin' awesome.

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11-01-2012, 02:01 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
(11-01-2012 01:14 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Frickin' awesome.

In my head I picture it like a putting green. (I'm a golfer) The way the ball slowly plays the break after you putt is how the minute gravity from dark matter bends light waves. It's crazy that we have the ability to detect it from every direction in space.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

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11-01-2012, 02:03 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
Calling this thing BIG doesn't even BEGIN to describe it!

Observer

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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11-01-2012, 02:31 PM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2012 02:38 PM by germanyt.)
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
(11-01-2012 02:03 PM)The_observer Wrote:  Calling this thing BIG doesn't even BEGIN to describe it!

5,878,625,373,183,610,000,000 miles wide

I think that's the same thing as 5.878625373183608e+21 but without figuring decimals in my math.

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11-01-2012, 04:33 PM (This post was last modified: 11-01-2012 04:36 PM by Erxomai.)
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
(11-01-2012 02:03 PM)The_observer Wrote:  Calling this thing BIG doesn't even BEGIN to describe it!

That's what SHE said!
(11-01-2012 02:01 PM)germanyt Wrote:  In my head I picture it like a putting green. (I'm a golfer) The way the ball slowly plays the break after you putt is how the minute gravity from dark matter bends light waves. It's crazy that we have the ability to detect it from every direction in space.

Not such a bad analogy.

The part about detecting from EVERY direction is a bit mind-boggling as well.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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11-01-2012, 04:58 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
If you traveled at 1 mile per second it would take you 186409987734132.75 years to get across the map. That's 186.4 trillion years @ 3600 MPH.


Mind = 'sploded

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11-01-2012, 05:10 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
Wait, Fox News posted something about science? Specifically, something that backs up Evolution? It really is the end of days!!!

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11-01-2012, 05:12 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
(11-01-2012 05:10 PM)Science Believer Wrote:  Wait, Fox News posted something about science? Specifically, something that backs up Evolution? It really is the end of days!!!

Their website is really okay with exception to the coverage of Ron Paul. Same as MSNBC's website. Both are pretty balanced. The comment section, of course is full on Fox News viewers. So you can imagine the lulz and facepalms it provides.

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12-01-2012, 04:47 PM
RE: Billion light year wide web of dark matter mapped.
Awesome. I hope they had set an anomaly detection alongside the photographing routine. I'm curious about dark matter halos that do not have a galaxy inside it, seems like they might serve as scaffolds for future galaxies.
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