Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Telescope have observed what appears to be a clump of dark matter left behind from a wreck between massive clusters of galaxies. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter that predict galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision. Abell 520 is a gigantic merger of galaxy clusters located 2.4 billion light-years away.
A new study found that cosmic inflation, which was first proposed in 1980, is the simplest explanation that fits the measurements of the distribution of matter throughout the universe made by NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a spacecraft that scans radiation left over from the Big Bang. According to inflation, the universe expanded by a factor of at least 1078 (that’s 10 with 78 zeroes after it), all in less than a second.
NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is being mated, or attached, to its Pegasus XL rocket on February 17 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.The mission’s launch is now scheduled for no earlier than March 21 to allow the launch vehicle team an additional week to complete necessary engineering reviews. After the reviews, the team will begin final preparations for the rocket’s delivery to the launch site at Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. NuSTAR will probe the hottest, densest and most energetic objects in space, including black holes and the remnants of exploded stars. It will be the first space telescope to capture sharp images in high-energy X-rays, giving astronomers a new tool for understanding the extreme side of our universe.
A group of Japanese physicists has revealed where dark matter is for the first time. As it turns out, the mysterious substance is almost everywhere, drooping throughout intergalactic space to form an all-encompassing web of matter. Dark matter is invisible, It doesn’t interact with light, because of that astronomers cannot actually see it. So far, it has only been observed indirectly by way of the gravitational force it exerts on ordinary, visible matter. On the basis of this gravitational interaction, physicists have inferred that dark matter constitutes 22 percent of the matter-energy content of the universe, while ordinary detectable matter constitutes just 4.5 percent.
Many of the Universe’s galaxies are like our own, displaying beautiful spiral arms wrapping around a bright nucleus. Examples in this stunning image, taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, include the tilted galaxy at the bottom of the frame, shining behind a Milky Way star, and the small spiral at the top center. Other galaxies are even odder in shape. Markarian 779, the galaxy at the top of this image, has a distorted appearance because it is likely the product of a recent galactic merger between two spirals.
NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has captured the best and most complete glimpse yet of what lies beyond the solar system. The new measurements give clues about how and where our solar system formed, the forces that physically shape our solar system, and the history of other stars in the Milky Way. The Earth-orbiting spacecraft observed four separate types of atoms including hydrogen, oxygen, neon and helium. These interstellar atoms are the byproducts of older stars, which spread across the galaxy and fill the vast space between stars.
More than 20,000 radio antennas will soon connect over the Internet to scan largely unexplored radio frequencies, hunting for the first stars and galaxies and potentially signals of extraterrestrial intelligence. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) will consist of banks of antennas in 48 stations in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, all hooked up by fiber optic cables. Currently 16,000 of LOFAR’s antennas and 41 of its stations are up, and the array will be completed by the middle of this year.
Astronomers have combined observations from the LABOCA camera on the ESO-operated 12-meter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope with measurements made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and others, to look at the way that bright, distant galaxies are gathered together in groups or clusters. The more closely the galaxies are clustered, the more massive are their halos of dark matter, the invisible material that makes up the vast majority of a galaxy’s mass. The new results are the most accurate clustering measurements ever made for this type of galaxy.
Accroding to scientists powerful lasers that mimic the effects of supernovas are now helping reveal how the magnetic fields of galaxies may have formed in the early universe.