Do you know what dark matter is?
Do you think it is a possible theory in science? Can you imagine what it might mean for science in general? These are just some of the questions you may be asking when considering the idea of dark matter. It is well worth your while to find out all you can about it, as understanding it could help us understand our very existence.
Dark matter may be defined as energy that is not readily seen by the naked eye, but is found in great quantities in many places in the universe.
Roughly 80% of all the matter of the entire universe consists of unseen dark matter that scientists can’t directly see. Also called dark matter, this strange substance doesn’t emit light or heat, but rather just make up the bulk of matter that makes up the universe. While other theories suggest that dark matter may be much more exotic, these difficult-to-detect items would need to play an even stronger role in the formation of our universe than scientists currently see to be the case.
How does dark matter operate?
In order for dark matter to interact with other matter in the universe, it must be very dense and extremely heavy. As it gets heavier, it will push against itself, causing the clouds of gas that make up the Milky Way to move around. In effect, the moving clouds of gas become bumpy and irregular, like bumpy roads. This effect is what astronomers are looking for if they want to see what is making the stars in the background. If astronomers are lucky, they will be able to capture a moving cloud of dark matter that will allow them to see the stars.
Dark matter can affect how the entire universe works.
Astronomy uses it to help them map the composition of space, helping them figure out how it came to be the way that it is today. Without this invisible part of the cosmos to model, astronomers have to make do with models that can’t completely explain the presence of stars, clouds, and other astronomical effects.
Some of the most common ways that dark matter is discovered is through its effects on the major structures of space-time. Einstein had already mentioned this nearly a century ago when he was still a student. Now, modern research suggests that this theory is correct. Dark matter does not cause the strong pull of gravity on regular matter, such as hydrogen atoms, but it does make these atoms travel faster than normal.
Astronomers have also found evidence of dark matter in the motion of galaxy clusters.
The galaxies are not evenly distributed in the universe. While all of the galaxies are moving through intergalactic space, some seem to be going faster than the rest. Scientists suspect that this extra material is responsible. It could be dark matter or something else entirely, but the evidence is mounting that it is indeed a significant component of what makes up the universe. Gravity from other small galaxy clusters might be giving off x-rays that we cannot see inside our solar system, but it’s an option.
Another study suggests that there could be more dark matter floating around in our galaxy than we think. This is because our eyes are not sensitive enough to look for neutrinos, which are most frequently associated with dark matter. If there are several hundred billions of neutrinos floating around, which scientists suspect is the case, then that would mean there are several hundred billions of other particles in the universe as well. This would mean the total amount of dark matter in our entire universe is about five hundred billion times the density of water.
While astronomers have theories and ideas about dark matter, like most scientists they are left with observations and data to support their theories. Observational evidence is the best way to test theories and see if they can be tested by observation. Using baryonic matter to test Einstein’s theory of relativity, for example, would require an instrument capable of detecting very small amounts of energy, which is beyond the power of telescopes on Earth. The observation of very minute variations in the positions of stars caused by the large-scale gravitational pulls of many billions of suns is another good way to test theories of cosmology.