NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope May Allow Scientists To “See” Dark Matter

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Dark matter, the most elusive material in the Universe, has been nicknamed as such because, so far, astrophysicists did not come up with a method to detect it directly and accurately. However, surprisingly enough, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope may allow scientists to “see’ dark matter in the Universe using faint light detection.

Basically, dark matter is invisible to scientists, and it can only be spotted by observing its gravitational effects on the surrounding material. However, that detection method is not accurate enough and is also hard to employ. Luckily, thanks to dark matter’s gravitational effect we know that 85% of the Universe is composed of it, so there should be enough of this elusive material for astrophysicists to identify using other methods.

And now, astronomers from Australia and Spain developed such a method to detect dark matter. According to the, using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, we can practically “see” the dark matter in faint light within galaxy clusters.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope May Allow Scientists To “See” Dark Matter

A galaxy cluster is a massive gravitationally bound gathering of galaxies, such as the Milky Way, our home galaxy, is part of the supercluster known as Laniakea and which is made of hundreds of thousands of galaxies, orbiting one around the other or even stealing stars one from the other.

Sometimes, a galaxy can rip off a star from its home galaxy, leaving it floating freely within the cluster. These rogue stars emit a faint light which is known as “intracluster light” by the scientists.

“We have found that very faint light in galaxy clusters, the intracluster light, maps how dark matter is distributed,’ explained Mireia Montes, a researcher at Australia’s University of New South Wales, and the leading author of the new study, recently issued in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The intracluster light “exquisitely follows the global dark matter distribution within the clusters, and thus the stars floating freely through the cluster have an identical distribution to the dark matter,” the scientist explained, cited by CNET.