DailyDirt: Where Has All The Matter Gone?
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
There are vast amounts of stuff that no one knows anything about. Everything in the universe that we can see — that reflects light or glows on it own because it’s hot — only amounts to about 5% of the known mass of the universe. So… what’s going on with the other 95% of “stuff” that’s out there? Maybe there are exotic particles we haven’t discovered yet that are everywhere, but we just don’t know it. Physicists call this stuff “dark matter” and “dark energy” — and there could be a whole “dark sector” of dark matter doing things that we just can’t see. But we’re getting some hints for some of the stuff we can’t see by observing and measuring the outcomes of rare astronomical events — and by creating simulations of what possible undiscovered particles might do to the formation of galaxies and other distant space objects. Here are just a few projects that might explain how the universe works someday.
- Astronomers detected a fast radio burst (FRB) last year (of which only 16 had been observed before), and this time, they were prepared to try to pinpoint the origin. Studying this phenomenon can help more accurately measure how much “ordinary matter” there is in the universe, and this signal points to where the “missing half” of all ordinary matter might be. (It still doesn’t account for the 95% of “non-ordinary matter” that makes up the rest of the universe.) [url]
- The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a particle detector on the outside of the International Space Station that’s looking at cosmic rays from all over the galaxy. It has detected a curious excess of positrons that might originate from dark matter collisions, but the evidence so far doesn’t quite point to a specific dark matter particle. [url]
- Dark matter doesn’t behave like ordinary matter — and we can’t see it (hence its name). Dark matter has mass, and it might interact with itself in ways we currently don’t understand. A bunch of proposed particles could account for the vast majority of mass in the universe — such as Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (aka WIMPs), but no one knows yet how about 95% of the universe’s mass behaves. [url]
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Filed Under: alpha magnetic spectrometer, astronomy, cosmic rays, dark energy, dark matter, dark sector, fast radio burst, frb, iss, mysteries, physics, science, weakly interacting massive particles, wimps