New map shows all matter in the universe

New map shows all matter in the universe

Sky maps from the Dark Energy Survey (left) and the South Pole Telescope (right).

Researchers used data from the Dark Energy Survey and the South Pole Telescope to recalculate the total amount and distribution of matter in the universe. They found that there is about six times as much dark matter in the universe as ordinary matter, a finding consistent with previous measurements.

But the team also found that the case clumped together less than previously thought, a finding that backfired in a set from three papers, all published this week in Physical Review D.

The Dark energy research observes photons of light at visible wavelengths; the South Pole Telescope looks at light at microwave wavelengths. That means the South Pole telescope is observing the cosmic microwave background – the oldest radiation we can see, dating back to about 300,000 years after the Big Bang.

The team presented the datasets from the respective surveys in two maps of the sky; then they superimposed the two cards to understand the full picture of how matter is distributed in the universe.

“It seems there are slightly less fluctuations in the current universe than we would predict, assuming our standard cosmological model anchored in the early universe,” said Eric Baxter, an astronomer at the University of Hawai’i and a co-author of the study. author of the study, at a university release. “The high precision and robustness of bias sources of the new results provide particularly compelling evidence that we may be beginning to uncover holes in our standard cosmological model.”

Dark matter is something in the universe that we cannot observe directly. We know it’s there because of the gravitational effects, but otherwise we can’t see it. Dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe, according to CERN. (Ordinary matter is about 5% of the total content of the universe.) The remaining 68% consists of dark energy, a hitherto uncertain category that is evenly distributed throughout the universe and is responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe.

The South Pole Telescope.

The Dark Energy Survey still has three years of data to analyze, and a new look at the cosmic microwave background is currently being conducted by the South Pole Telescope. Meanwhile, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (high in the Chilean desert of the same name) is currently taking a very sensitive examination of the background. With new accurate data to examine, researchers may be able to standard cosmological model for a difficult test.

In 2021, the Atacama telescope helped scientists come up with a new accurate measurement for the age of the universe: 13.77 billion years. More research into the cosmic microwave background could also help researchers deal with the Hubble tension, a disagreement between two of the best ways to measure the expansion of the universe. (Depending on how it’s measured, researchers arrive at two different numbers for the rate of that expansion.)

As the means of observation become more accurate and more data is collected and analyzed, that information can be fed back to large cosmological models to determine where we have been wrong in the past and lead us to new lines of inquiry.

More: Antimatter could easily travel through our galaxy, physicists say

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