After years of study, scientists account for all ‘normal’ matter


National News

June 20, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Astronomers using a powerful quasar to study an enormous invisible tendril full of superheated gas say they may have finally discovered the universe’s “missing” detectable matter.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, solve a decades-old mystery and could help scientists further probe the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

All of the atoms in the stars, galaxies and planets in existence make up roughly 5 percent of the mass-energy density of the cosmos. The overwhelming majority, about 70 percent, is made up of dark energy — a mysterious, repulsive force that is causing the universe to expand faster and faster. The remaining quarter or so is made up of dark matter — invisible, untouchable stuff whose presence can only be felt by its gravitational influence on galactic scales. Dark matter connects clusters of galaxies with massive tendrils, forming a cosmic web that serves as an unseen skeleton for the universe.

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