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Sky Survey Creates the Most Accurate Map Yet of Dark Matter

Ten regions in the sky
The ten regions in the sky were chosen as “deep fields”, which the Dark Energy Camera depicted multiple times during the survey, provided a glimpse of distant galaxies and helped determine their 3D distribution in the universe. The image is filled with galaxies – in fact, almost every object in this image is a galaxy. Some exceptions include a few dozen asteroids in our own Milky Way, as well as a handful of foreground stars. Dark Energy Survey / DOE / FNAL / DECAM / CTIO / NoirLab / NSF / Aura Acknowledgments: TA Rector (University of Alaska / NoFlab of NSF), M. Zamani (NoirLab of NSF) and D. D. Martin (Noirlab of NSF)

We can’t see it, but we know it’s there: the mystery of Dark Matter has been surprising astronomers since the 1930s. We know that ordinary matter makes up just 5% of all that exists in the universe, the remaining 68% is made up of dark energy and 27% of dark matter. But the exact nature of this substance and energy remains a matter of debate.

To find out more, a project called the Dark Energy Survey (DES) has seen more than 226 million galaxies covering one-eighth of the sky, collecting data that is based on how the universe was formed and how it formed. May provide the most accurate measurement. Detailed. The data for the first three years of the project is now being released in 29 new scientific papers.

“Most of the matter in the universe is dark matter,” explained Niall Jeffrey, co-lead author of one of the studies at the लेcole Normale Supérieur and University College London. “It’s a real surprise to get a glimpse of these huge, hidden structures in a large part of the night sky. Revealing these structures using distorted shapes of millions of distant galaxies with photographs from the Dark Energy Camera in Chile Has been done. “

Jeffrey’s group analyzed the DES data using artificial intelligence methods to map the dark matter observed from the Southern Hemisphere. The final map covers about a quarter of the sky seen from this hemisphere:

A map of the southern hemisphere sky, showing the area of ​​dark matter mapped by dace in pink.
A map of the Southern Hemisphere sky, showing the area of ​​Dark Matter mapped by Dace in pink. N. Jeffrey / Dark Energy Survey Collaboration

“In our map, which shows mainly dark matter, we see a similar pattern as we do with only visible matter — a web-like structure consisting of dense flakes of matter separated by large empty voids, “Jeffrey explained. “Looking at these cosmic-scale structures can help us answer basic questions about the universe.”

In a technique called gravitational lensing, researchers were able to map dark matter by observing that its gravity distorts light. From these distortions, they can estimate how much black matter must be present in a particular area. This work flattens the 3D universe into a 2D map and so for the next stage of investigation, the researchers want to create a 3D view of the dark matter.

The data collected by DES can also tell us about big questions in cosmology, such as how the universe evolved after the Big Bang and how “smooth” the universe is – meaning how much matter collides together. In fact, the intelligibility calculated by the project seems a bit far from the prediction of existing models. Researchers on the project say they want to collect more data to understand whether there is a difference in smoothing between the DES survey and the analysis of leftover radiation from the Big Bang, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).

Another paper co-author Pablo Lemos said, “It would be very exciting to find contrasts between galaxy surveys such as the analysis of DES and CMB, as they would provide clues to new physics.” “This observed difference in case clustering may be one such paradox, but we will need more data to confirm this.”

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