The study of the galactic web gives the first results

The universe is not only endless open spacesdarkness and trillions of galaxies containing many billions of stars and many billions of planets. In fact, everything is much more complicated here. Each individual galaxy, as well as a single galactic cluster, is connected with the so-called giant intergalactic web, whose invisible filaments are composed of dark matter. We understand that it is rather difficult to imagine, but recently, thanks to a very ingenious method of using the gravitational lensing method, they were able to make out some of these threads.

By comparing galactic group information,acting as galactic lenses with information about the light sources located behind these groups, a team of astronomers from the Canadian University of Waterloo took advantage of the dark matter feature to distort space and was able to make out what they could not make out before.

If you take the most powerful telescope and look atspace, then everything that we see directly will make up only 5 percent of the universe we are observing. Another 68 percent comes from some energy. We know little about it (even the best physicists of our time cannot cope), but we know that it is due to the effect that it has on the surrounding space. Science calls this power "dark energy." There is still dark matter, which accounts for 27 percent of the universe we are observing. We also know practically nothing about this matter, but again we know what it is, due to the fact that it, like dark energy, acts on the space surrounding it. The effect in both cases is gravity. The difficulty in studying dark matter lies, among other things, in that it practically does not manifest itself in any way. Ordinary matter with mass is capable of releasing or absorbing electromagnetic radiation, or at least interacting with nuclear forces. Dark matter is a different case. It affects the surrounding tissue of the universe only by its gravity.

Previously, scientists could only speculate where they couldthere are clusters of dark matter. Calculations, as a rule, were carried out using the mapping of stars and galaxies, and then the subsequent determination of how much mass they should have, taking into account their motion and location in the space of the Universe. The data indicated that ordinary matter and dark matter, as a rule, are together and often form some clumps, the presence of which was hinted at by the manifesting halo effect near large accumulations of intergalactic gas or dust. Moreover, dark matter in these clumps has always been predicted more than usual. Nevertheless, science also knows that dark matter not only forms clumps, but also stretches into very long strings that penetrate the entire Universe, like a web. Galaxies often cling to these threads, forming giant galactic clusters that stretch not only space but also time.

But to know about the presence of dark matter between visible galaxies is one thing. To see her is another.

“For decades, scientists have been predicting the existence of filaments of dark matter between galaxies that act as cobwebs, bringing these galaxies together,” explains researcher Mike Hudson.

“But the image we received is much cooler than usual predictions. This is what we can see and measure. ”

When light passes through matter possessinga large mass, such as a galaxy, the light begins to distort under the influence of gravitational forces. By comparing various images of 23,000 pairs of galaxies located about 4.5 billion light years from us, astronomers were able to compile a relatively detailed map of the filaments of dark matter uniting these galaxies. Moreover, scientists were able to not only determine the presence of these filaments, but also found out some of their characteristics.

“We were able not only to note the presence of these filaments of dark matter, but also found out some features of these screeds,” the scientists commented.

For example, the strongest filaments of dark matter are observed between galactic clusters located at a distance of less than 40 million light years from each other.

In the future, adding this data toexisting models and maps of dark matter can provide us with additional information about this mysterious substance and, possibly, even expand our knowledge about the evolution of the Universe.