Feeds

Astroboffins map GIANT MASS of dark matter

3D image shows ginormous filament of Big Bang batter

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.