A team of researchers representing the University of Geneva has found some new facts that explain our universe’s composition. According to the findings of the study conducted by the team, just around 5% of the universe is made up of ordinary matter and “missing baryons” constitute almost 50% of that.
So far, scientists didn’t have a clear idea about the “missing baryons”, the majority of which we know is constituted of ordinary matter.
The new study has also revealed that the remaining part of the universe is made up of a “cosmic web” containing gas whose temperature ranges between 10,000 and 10 million degrees. Galaxies are formed when ordinary matter collapses and subsequently cools down. For comprehending the factors responsible for kicking of galaxy formation, it is extremely important to identify the actual nature of ordinary matter.
Researchers at the University of Geneva used XMM space telescope to examine Abell 27444, a massive cluster of galaxies boasting a bizarre distribution of glowing dark matter in its center. For those who don’t know: XMM space telescope possesses the ability to detect signatures of excessively hot gases.
Dominique Eckert, the lead researcher, informed that findings of the study validated previous predictions that mysterious fraction of ordinary matter contains a cosmic web. He further said that now scientists will have to verify that the presently discovered missing baryons of Abel 2744 are applicable to the entire universe. For that, the filamentary regions will have to be studied more closely.
Eckert believes that scientists will now need to put in their best efforts for measuring temperature distribution in those filamentary regions and gathering information on the atoms constituting the regions. According to him, these steps will provide them with a clear understanding of how many heavy elements the universe houses.
Once the researchers succeed in measuring the atoms constituting the filaments, they will not have much trouble in guessing the quantum of the heavy nuclei formed by stars since the beginning of the universe.
For examining the evidence available currently, the European Space Agency (ESA) in partnership with UNIGE, Switzerland, is building a brand new space telescope. The telescope, according to reports, should become operational by mid-2020s. Scientists have named it Athena, after the Greek goddess.