Three-dimensional map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter in the observable universe, from Hubble Space Telescope data (NASA, Jan 7, 2007). The map, determined by analysis of gravitational distortions of light coming from distant galaxies, reveals a network of filaments intersecting at the locations of normal matter in galaxy clusters. Clumping of dark matter appears more pronounced from right (distant regions in space and time) to left (nearest and recent regions).
Dark matter is a theoretical form of matter currently observed only by its gravitational effects and representing in the standard cosmological model about 20% of the energy density of the universe. It was first postulated to explain some motions of galaxies and other cosmological data, and confirmed by gravitational lensing observations of the Bullet Cluster of galaxies in August 2006.
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