Structure of dark matter brought in to the light—4 August

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ) have joined an international team of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions to create the most accurate measurement ever made of dark matter structure in the universe.

UQ School of Mathematics and Physics Cosmologist Professor Tamara Davis, a 2010 ARC Future Fellow, said the Dark Energy Survey showed a stunning map of the distribution of dark matter.

“The survey supports the view that dark matter and dark energy make up most of the cosmos,” said Professor Davis.

“We have been working with the international team for the past five years, so it is thrilling to see that work come to fruition with these first major results.

“This is the largest guide to spotting dark matter in the cosmos ever drawn, it goes to show what you can achieve when researchers come together to work on fundamental problems.”

The Dark Energy Survey represents the first time scientists have achieved similar precision on the amount and ‘clumpiness’ of dark matter in the present-day. The results support the theory that 26 per cent of the universe is in the form of mysterious dark matter and that space is filled with an also-unseen dark energy.

To measure the dark matter, the survey team first created maps of galaxy positons and traces. They then precisely measured the shapes of 26 million galaxies, using a technique called gravitational lensing.

To make the ultra-precise measurements, the team developed new ways to detect tiny lensing distortions of galaxy images—an effect not visible to the eye—enabling revolutionary advances in understanding cosmic signals.


Media issued by The University of Queensland.

Image: Map of dark matter made from gravitational lensing measurements of 26 million galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey. The map covers about 1/30th of the entire sky and spans several billion light-years in extent. Red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter.
Image courtesy: Chihway Chang of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago and the DES collaboration.


Original Published Date: 
Friday, August 4, 2017