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1st Dark Matter Bridge Discovered Linking Two Galaxy Clusters



A ‘finger’ of the Universe’s dark-matter skeleton, which ultimately dictates where galaxies form, has been observed for the first time bridging the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223 2.7 billion light-years away by an international team of astrophysicists using a technique that could eventually help astrophysicists to understand the structure of the Universe and identify what makes up the mysterious invisible substance known as dark matter.

Using data from the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the XMM-Newton space telescope, researchers examined 40,341 background galaxies for signs of distortion and calculated that the mass in the filament is between 6.5 × 1013 and 9.8 × 1013 times the mass of the Sun. They used a model to subtract out the masses of the galaxy clusters and then fit the remaining mass with a model of what a filament might look like. They found that a filament must be present, and that it was actually much longer than it seemed.

"Dark matter really governs structure formation," said study leader Joerg Dietrich, an astrophysicist at the University Observatory Munich in Germany. "The galaxy clusters and the filaments are mostly made up of dark matter. The normal matter just follows the distribution of dark matter."

The discovery of these dark-matter filaments, about 58 million light-years from end to end, are predicted to contain more than half of all matter in the Universe, was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.



According to the standard model of cosmology, visible stars and galaxies trace a pattern across the sky known as the cosmic web, which was originally created by dark matter. These long strands of dark matter bridge clusters of galaxies formed at the nodes of the cosmic web, where these filaments intersected.

By examining X-rays from plasma in the filament, observed by the XMM-Newton spacecraft2, the team calculated that no more than 9% of the filament's mass could be made up of hot gas. The team's computer simulations suggest that roughly another 10% of the mass could be due to visible stars and galaxies, the balance dark matter, said Dietrich.

“What’s exciting is that in this unusual system we can map both dark matter and visible matter together and try to figure out how they connect and evolve along the filament,” says Mark Bautz, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .

“This will complement direct dark-matter searches, for example at the Large Hadron Collider,” says Alexandre Refregier, a cosmologist at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The Daily Galaxy via Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10951

Image credit: Joerg Dietrich, University of Michigan/University 


Such amazing mathematical calculations are beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as I. These uses of advanced technology must be very absorbing to those working with them. Speculating about the structure of the universe, or even just taking pictures of parts of it is almost beyond belief. Which makes me want to ask, in sincerity, do any of you astrophysicists and cosmologists believe in God?

Erm... 2 days later, still the deafening silence. There's your answer I think, Gordon!

Gordon Jewett
Since you mention mathematical calculations that are beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as I, (i love copy and paste)

This is a story I heard as a kid. It has nothing to do with astronomy directly BUT it has made me very wary of mathematical models.

3 guys check into a hotel. The manager says "theres only 1 room left and its $30.00 a night to stay in it". Its late and they are tired so they accept and each guy puts up $10.00 and they go to the room. A few minutes later the manager feels guilty for having 3 guys in a little room for full price so she calls the bellhop over and gives him $5.00 to give back to the 3 guys. On the way to their room, the bellhop thinks "They will never know if I keep $2.00 and give them back $3.00 and they can split it even". So thats what he does. That makes each guy paid $9.00 for the room for a night.

NOW $10 x 3 = $30.00

BUT $9.00 x 3 = $27.00 + the $2.00 the bellhop kept = $29.00

Where did the other $1.00 go? This is not a riddle but a real life math problem that I am just not smart enough to figure out.

This problem, with such low numbers and elementary school math not working out the same has made me doubtful of higher mathematics and especially of math for the extreme models used for space theorys. I do NOT claim all, or even ANY of the models are wrong. I do NOT have a better way to cipher any of these models out. Just that I cannot trust them. I remember 1 or 2 other mathematical anomalies on this site before, but they was not in simple story form so simple people like me have a hard time remembering them.

that problem is easy, you are approaching it the wrong way so it is misleading.

the 3 guys paid 25 dollars for the room.
refunded 1 dollar each (3 total).
bellhop kept 2.

I've seen brain teaser puzzles like this before. The trick is to focus on the right numbers.

just to clarify,

the puzzle gets most people because it makes you think that each person paid 9$ and this is not true.

If each got back $1.00 then they each did pay $9.00

There are still $30 in play. The cash register has 25 of them, the bellhop has 2, the men collectively have 3. The $2 the bellhop had should be SUBTRACTED from the $27 the men paid, not added to it. That gives you the $25 cost of the room.


that might work. I will have to think on it. Thanks

After thinking on this for just an hour or so it sounded dumb to try to add them like I have been doing for many years. After almost a week I gotta say THE NEXT TIME I GET A REASON TO HATE MATH, I AM NOT TELLING YOU! HAHAHAHA But thanks for setting me straight. I will have to accept that I am the 2nd smartest in here now i guess. 8)

seeing how God created the heavens: it is gonna take you boys at least ten billion years to figure it out..

My gosh Smartypants. Such hubris. Just because initially you couldn't figure out the logical conundrum (which has a perfectly logical explanation) you condemn what you do not understand. As if your personal inability is a yardstick to measure the greatness of others, such as the very very very smart astrophysicists working the models. Wow. Amazing.

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