General, Research, Technology

What does the cosmic web look like?

Our seemingly so familiar Universepierced through a huge invisible web, which is impossible to detect, see or touch. Despite the fact that the universe is a well-ordered structure that obeys the basic physical laws, it also has a place for mysterious dark matter, which exerts gravitational attraction but does not emit light. So what is a cosmic network and how can it be connected with dark matter?

Our universe is completely filled with a mysterious and yet unexplored substance - dark matter.

What is a space web?

Once upon a time our Universe was muchsmaller, hotter and denser than it is now. In this rather boring region, the density did not differ much from place to place, and wherever you went, everything would be about the same as at the point you left earlier. However, in this extremely monotonous place, there were tiny random differences in density. These spatial anomalies could boast of a somewhat greater gravitational attraction than their entire environment, gradually attracting more matter to themselves and becoming more and more with time. Over time, the space between becoming larger objects became empty, dense spots turned into stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and the spaces between them turned into huge cosmic voids.

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13.8 billion years after the start of thisa grandiose space construction, work on the creation of the Universe is not finished yet. The remnants of matter still flow from the voids, gradually connecting with groups of stars and galaxies. What we have today is a complex network consisting of filaments of matter: the cosmic web.

The space network connects together the material of dark matter and its “normal” version emitting electromagnetic light

The vast majority of matter in our universeis dark; it does not interact with light or with any other matter that we see in the form of stars, gas clouds and other interesting things. As a result, most of the cosmic web is completely invisible to us. However, in places where dark matter accumulates, one can notice that invisible clumps drag along with themselves a part of ordinary matter. Spreading over millions of light years, these thin filaments - curls of galaxies, act like huge cosmic freeways connecting galaxies with each other.

Due to the sheer size of the space network,modeling such an extended object has been difficult for a long time. Recently, however, a group of astronomers took a big step forward in mapping our space network, publishing the results of their research in January into the arXiv database.

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Having studied the catalog of famous representativesluminous red galaxies (LRGs) - the most ancient galaxies of the Universe, scientists have come to the conclusion that the filaments of the cosmic web coming from these background galaxies can indicate the amount of dark matter in them. In addition, scientists were able to confirm that cosmic filaments are not completely dark. So, for every 351 distant Suns, there is at least one star that can illuminate an extended cosmic web.