Cosmologists have eventually managed to produce a gigantic map showcasing the distribution of dark matter within our universe. The map successfully traces the dark matter by screening effects of gravitation on light.
On April 13, Chihway Chang, a representative of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, presented the picture mapping voids and clumps created by dark matter on a patch sky. The mapped dark matter covered around 2 million galaxies. Chang presented the picture at an American Physical Society meeting held in Baltimore, MD.
The researchers are saying that the dark matter is at least five times more copious than the structure we are seeing. The matter might be invincible, but due to its ability of curving space-time its existence can be detected.
An area that houses the dark matter in large concentrations causes the light emitted by galaxies in the background to bend, which in turn skews the images of those galaxies. Scientists refer to this effect as ‘weak gravitational lensing’.
To date, this effect has been studied primarily due to its ability to assist in understanding the dark matter in a single cluster of galaxies. However, now, with this latest survey the entire concept of weak gravitational lensing has reached an absolutely new level.
During the said survey, two million galaxies were photographed by means of a 570 MP camera. The event took place at the Blanco 4m, a 4m telescope located at Chile’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
The 2 million galaxies mapped by the scientists formed a large patch on the sky. Experts say that the patch covers an area that can accommodate as many as 700 suns; this number is enough to prove how big the mapped area is. Scientists carrying out this survey pinpointed tiny distortions in shapes of distant galaxies for mapping the mass of the dark matter occupying the foreground.
Observations made during this study match the standard concept of cosmology perfectly; cosmology suggests that dark matter is the main factor triggering development of all major cosmic structures.
Chang informed that this latest survey has allowed her team to identify some really massive structures more than 100 million light years away. She added that to confirm that they are all genuine structures soon she and her team will carry out follow-up studies.