Astrophysicists Find New Clue in Search for Universe's Missing Matter

An artist’s representation of the filaments of gas that fill intergalactic area, with an inset chart of how those filaments connect with X-rays from a quasar.

Credit: Copyright Illustration: Springel et al. (2005); Spectrum: NASA/CXC/CfA/ Kovács et al.

Astronomers believe they have actually discovered a brand-new idea in their continuing mission to fix among the most significant secrets of the universes: where about a 3rd of deep space’s matter is concealing.

That missing out on matter isn’t dark matter(an entire various head-scratcher), it’s completely typical, ordinary matter that researchers just can’t discover. Which makes it a huge cosmic inconvenience for astronomers. However a group of scientists might have found out a hint that will assist them find this missing out on matter, thanks to the NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory

” If we discover this missing out on mass, we can fix among the greatest quandaries in astrophysics,” lead author Orsolya Kovács, a doctoral trainee at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, stated in a NASA declaration “Where did deep space stow away a lot of its matter that comprises things like stars and worlds and us?” [Our X-Ray Universe: Amazing Photos by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory]

Kovács and her research study coworkers wished to check out one popular theory: that the missing out on matter is concealed in the stringy filaments of warm gas that fill intergalactic area Those filaments are usually tough to study, given that telescopes tuned to the exact same light our eyes can see can’t sign up these structures.

So the scientists developed a work-around. They relied on Chandra’s observations of a quasar called H1821+643, which produces a strong X-ray signal, figuring that if all that missing out on matter truly is concealing in the intergalactic filaments, it would modify the quasar’s signal. Then they might work backwards, comparing what they anticipated to what they saw.

They likewise customized their search, homing in on particular wavelengths of X-ray light that they had actually figured out would best reveal the results of the filaments provided the specific quasar they observed. That indicated they might really utilize the quasar’s X-rays as a tool instead of just being overwhelmed by its very intense emissions.

” Our method is comparable in concept to how you may carry out an effective look for animals in the huge plains of Africa,” Akos Bogdan, a co-author on the brand-new research study and an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, stated in the exact same declaration. “We understand that animals require to consume, so it makes good sense to browse around watering holes initially.”

All informed, the group determined 17 various filaments utilizing this targeted method. And the scientists utilized their observations to compute just how much mass was really concealing in these filaments Those computations recommend that in this spot of deep space, at any rate, the missing out on mass is certainly concealing within these filament structures.

The research study is explained in a paper released Feb. 13 in The Astrophysical Journal.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook