January 9, 2007 at 12:31 am #20289
I love this particular quest of science, it puts them face to face with what the ancient Taoists called Early Heaven or pre-natal energy. The formless matrix that is birthing the formed matrix. Of course, they are using gravity to map it – same force that we begin using in Greatest Kan & Li to propel our consciousness into cosmic realms…..
THE UNIVERSE GIVES UP ITS DEEPEST SECRET
By Steve Connor
January 8, 2007
One of the greatest mysteries of the universe is about to be unravelled with
the first detailed, three-dimensional map of dark matter — the invisible
material that makes up most of the cosmos.
Astronomers announced yesterday that they have achieved the apparently
impossible task of creating a picture of something that has defied every
attempt to detect it since its existence was first postulated in 1933.
Scientists have known for many years that there is more to the universe than
can be seen or detected through their telescopes but it is only now that
they have been able to capture the first significant 3D-image of this
otherwise invisible material.
Unlike the ordinary matter of the planets, stars and galaxies, which can be
seen through telescopes or detected by scientific instruments, nobody has
seen dark matter or knows what it is made of, though calculations suggest
that it is at least six times bigger than the rest of the visible universe
A team of 70 astronomers from Europe, America and Japan used the Hubble
space telescope to build up a picture of dark matter in a vast region of
space where some of the galaxies date back to half the age of the universe –
nearly 7 billion years.
They used a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, first predicted by
Albert Einstein, to investigate an area of the sky nine times the size of a
full moon. Gravitational lensing occurs when light from distant galaxies is
bent by the gravitational influence of any matter that it passes on its
journey through space.
The scientists were able to exploit the technique by collecting the
distorted light from half a million faraway galaxies to reconstruct some of
the missing mass of the universe which is otherwise invisible to
“We have, for the first time, mapped the large-scale distribution of dark
matter in the universe,” said Richard Massey of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, one of the lead scientists in the team. “Dark matter
is a mysterious and invisible form of matter, about which we know very
little, yet it dominates the mass of the universe.”
One of the most important discoveries to emerge from the study is that dark
matter appears to form an invisible scaffold or skeleton around which the
visible universe has formed.
Although cosmologists have theorised that this would be the case, the
findings are dramatic proof that their calculations are correct and that,
without dark matter, the known universe that we can see would not be able to
“A filamentary web of dark matter is threaded through the entire universe,
and acts as scaffolding within which the ordinary matter — including stars,
galaxies and planets — can later be built,” Dr Massey said. “The most
surprising aspect of our map is how unsurprising it is. Overall, we seem to
understand really well what happens during the formation of structure and
the evolution of the universe,” he said.
The three-dimensional map of dark matter was built up by taking slices
through different regions of space much like a medical CT scanner build a
3-D image of the body by taking different X-ray “slices” in two dimensions.
Data from the Hubble telescope was supplemented by measurements from
telescopes on the ground, such as the Very Large Telescope of the European
Southern Observatory in Chile and the Japanese Subaru telescope in Hawaii.
Details of the dark matter map were released yesterday at the annual meeting
of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle and published online by the
journal Nature. The map stretches half way back to the beginning of the
universe and shows that dark matter has formed into “clumps” as it collapsed
under gravity. Other matter then grouped around these clumps to form the
visible stars, galaxies and planets.
“The 3-D information is vital to studying the evolution of the structures
over cosmic time,” said Jason Rhodes of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Astronomers have compared the task of detecting dark matter to the
difficulty of photographing a city at night from the air when only street
lights are visible.
Scientists said the new images were equivalent to seeing a city, its suburbs
and country roads in daylight for the first time. Major arteries and
intersections become evident and a variety of neighbourhoods are revealed.
“Now that we have begun to map out where dark matter is, the next challenge
is to determine what it is, and specifically its relationship to normal
matter,” Dr Massey said. “We have answered the first question about where
the dark matter it, but the ultimate goal will be to determine what it is.”
Various experiments on Earth are under way to try to find out what dark
matter is made of. One theory is that it is composed of mysterious
sub-atomic particles that are difficult to detect because they do not
interact with ordinary matter and so cannot be picked up and identified by
conventional scientific instruments. Comparing the maps of visible matter
and dark matter have already pointed to anomalies that could prove critical
to the understanding of what constitutes dark matter.January 9, 2007 at 2:56 am #20290
Go to this astronomy photo page. Scroll down to #4 when you get there…January 10, 2007 at 11:23 pm #20292
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