Feeds

Astroboffins map GIANT MASS of dark matter

3D image shows ginormous filament of Big Bang batter

The next step in data security

Astrophysicists have mapped the first 3D image of a gigantic dark matter filament for the first time.

Hubble image with dark matter mass overlay

Dark matter can't really be "seen" as such, it can only be detected by looking at the gravitational effects it has on the space around it. But by collating images from the Hubble Space telescope, the researchers now have a picture of dark matter (shown in blue above) extending 60 million light-years away from one of the most massive galaxy clusters astrophysicists know about – MACS J0717.

Big Bang theories predict that when the universe was first created, dense matter condensed into a web of tangled dark matter filaments throughout the universe, a process they've mapped in computer simulations. But it's not easy to spot these filaments in space.

“Filaments of the cosmic web are hugely extended and very diffuse, which makes them extremely difficult to detect, let alone study in 3D,” said the study's lead author, Mathilde Jauzac of LAM in France and University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

The cluster was chosen because theories of cosmic evolution say that that's where filaments of the cosmic web should meet. The team then developed new tools to convert image distortions, caused by dark matter filaments' mass bending light, into a mass map.

The boffins combined images taken all around the galaxy cluster using Hubble, Japan's Subaru Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope along with spectroscopic data from WM Keck and Gemini Observatories to figure out the shape of the filament. Their paper, A Weak-Lensing Mass Reconstruction of the Large-Scale Filament Feeding the Massive Galaxy Cluster MACSJ0717.5+3745, will be published in the online issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society this week.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.