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Dark Matter In The Universe Is Not That Clumpy As Previously Thought

First Posted: Dec 09, 2016 02:37 AM EST

Scientists discovered that dark matter in the universe is not that as clumpy than expected. This has been concluded based on the statistical analysis of the shapes of 15 million distant galaxies.

Massimo Viola, a co-author of the study from the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, said that this latest result indicates that dark matter in the cosmic web, which accounts for about one-quarter of the content of the universe, is less clumpy than they previously believed. In the past study that involved the Europe's Planck Mission, the researchers discovered that dark matter has lumped together over time through gravitational attraction.

On the other hand, with the new research at the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, the scientists found that dark matter is not quite as clumpy. The team examined about 15 million galaxies in five patches of the southern sky, which cover an area as big as 2,200 full moons.

The study indicates that gravitational lensing, in which the dark matter's gravity can bend light through the light coming from 15 million galaxies could disclose data about the structure and distribution of dark matter. The team examined the weak gravitational lensing, which is a delicate effect that needs to be gauged with precision.

Once the galaxy clusters triggered weak gravitational lensing the light-warping effect is refined and more difficult to identify than the gravitational lensing in the smaller objects such as stars. On the other hand, with the images taken by the VLT Survey telescope, the team identified this delicate effect. The team used these data to estimate how clumpy dark matter is. They found that it is significantly smoother than had previously thought in the Planck satellite data. This suggests that dark matter may be more evenly distributed than the researchers have believed, according to Space com.

Dark matter is an unidentified type of matter that contains 27 percent of the mass and energy in the universe. It does not release or interact with electromagnetic radiation like the light. This makes it unseen to the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Its existence and properties are implied from its gravitational effects that include gravitational lensing, motions of visible matter, its effects in the cosmic microwave and its influence on the universe's large-scale structure.

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