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Mysterious Dark Matter Essay

1883 words - 8 pages

Modern astronomers have made significant progress in determining what the universe is mostly composed by what substance. By utilizing the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), scientists discovered that the universe (for the first a few hundred thousand years) was an expanding gas composed primarily of protons, electrons, photons, neutrinos, and the mysterious dark matter. In the present, scientists are still bombard about dark matter and what it really is. Although, scientists do not know what dark matter is, they are certain of what it is not. Dark matter is not in the form of stars and planets that we see and it is known to make up about 25% of the entire Universe. By ...view middle of the document...

Yet, scientist has not found the primary function of dark matter and what it really is. Although dark matter remained mysterious for the longest time, technology has opened new doors and offered conventional ways for astronomers to study dark matter. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe or WMAP revealed what the universe was like when it was only a few hundred thousand years old, long before galaxies and clusters of galaxies were formed. After the Big Bang, the universe was an expanding gas composed primarily of protons, electrons, photons, neutrinos, and dark matter (Refer to Figure 1.0 & 1.1). WMAP and other data, as well as many different lines of evidence suggest that the mass of dark matter in galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole is about 5 or 6 times greater than the mass of ordinary baryonic matter such as the protons and neutrons. The WMAP results also hint that dark matter likely takes the form on an as-yet-undiscovered subatomic particle known as Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMPs) which represent one hypothesized class of these particles. They neither absorb nor emit light, and don’t interact strongly with other particles. Yet when they encounter each other, they annihilate and make gamma rays (Fermi, 2012). This finding has led astronomers to discover even more of what dark matter can do with relation to other particles such as protons, electrons, neutrinos, and so on.
Scientists have gathered massive amounts of evidence proving that protons, electrons, photons and neutrinos all exist in stars and galaxies. These particles are also known as baryonic matter because they are detectable when they absorb radiation. In the other hand, dark matter behaves very differently because it does not frequently interact nor does it interact well with other particles such as proton, electrons and so on. In fact, in 2007 results from the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope confirmed that dark matter and galaxies parted ways in gigantic merging galaxy clusters, this event was seen in galaxy clusters like Abell 520 which is located 2.4 billion light years away (Dark M, 2012). When this cluster was detected around 80 years ago, scientists believed that dark matter was some kind of gravitational glue that holds other substances together, it was also believed to be the primary influence responsible for the shapes of galaxies and galaxy clusters. This theory came to be when scientists discovered dark matter by accident from observing its gravitational influence effect on its surroundings. This method is referred as gravitational lensing which was succeeded with the help of the Canada-France-Hawaii and Subaru telescopes on top of Mauna Kea when it tried to measure the bended light from the more distant background galaxies but were unable to due to the gravitational influence from the dark matter. From the studies of the galaxy clusters like Abell 520, it proved that the function of dark matter is not as simple as other...

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