Dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe, and its gravitational pull is sufficient to bind entire galaxies together in a structure that resembles a giant cosmic network. Scientists have now created the largest map of this mysterious block to date. The results are very interesting because they indicate that there may be large regions in the universe where the laws of physics known to us do not apply.
Astronomers can map the existence of dark matter by observing light traveling on Earth from distant galaxies. When it is distorted in an inexplicable way, it means that there is some matter between its origin and the ground that is bending the light.
And this is exactly what the international scientific team Dark Energy Survey (DES) is doing, which wants to reveal the essence of both dark matter and dark energy, which should drive the expansion of the universe. Using artificial intelligence, these scientists have created a map of 100 million galaxies – showing a quarter of the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, and an eighth of the night sky visible from Earth.
What the map shows
Denser regions of dark matter appear in brighter colors, according to galaxy clusters. The black spots on the map represent a cosmic void, a space devoid of matter and without energy.
“It shows us new parts of the universe that we have not seen before,” explains Niall Jeffrey of University College London, who led the project. “We can see this cosmic spiderweb structure, including the massive cosmic void structures, which are regions of very low space density where There are very few galaxies and even less matter. “
Scientists are interested in these structures because they suspect that gravity may behave in them very differently from what we know from normal parts of the universe. By defining shapes and locations, the map can be a starting point for further study.
Was Einstein wrong?
The map also shows how the universe actually evolved after the Big Bang. According to the standard model of cosmology, the universe began with the Big Bang, then expanded, and matter evolved according to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which describes gravity. It is these gravitational forces that create the clusters and voids of matter that make up the cosmic web.
Calculations indicate that the distribution of this dark matter on the new map essentially matches the prediction provided by the Standard Model, but it is not entirely accurate. “The model assumes that dark matter will be more translucent – but it appears to be more evenly distributed,” said Jeffrey.
The physicist says: “This may sound trivial, but if these clues turn out to be correct, it could mean that there is something wrong with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, one of the great pillars of physics.”
How is that possible?
Study co-author Ofer Lahav said one possible explanation might be that some of the measurements are not entirely correct. Or, and this is even more alarming for physicists – there could be a problem with the basic model. “Some people might say that Einstein might have been wrong,” Lahav said.
Lahef has not claimed this yet, but because he is a scientist, he is open to all possibilities: “There is something that could indicate disproportion. Let’s work hard, let’s try to understand it by traditional means, but let’s keep our eyes open so that it could lead to a revolution in Physics. “