The researchers used data from the Dark Energy Survey and the South Pole Telescope to recalculate the total amount and distribution of matter in the universe. They found that there was about six times more dark matter in the universe than ordinary matter, a finding consistent with previous measurements.
But the team also found that the case was less crowded than previously thought, a discovery detailed in a Position of Three articles, all published this week in Physical Review D.
The Dark Energy Investigation observes photons of light at visible wavelengths; them South Pole Telescope look at light at microwave wavelengths. This means that the South Pole Telescope is observing the cosmic microwave background – the oldest radiation we can see, dating back around 300,000 years after the Big Bang.
The team presented the datasets from the respective surveys in two sky maps; they then overlaid the two maps to understand the full picture of how matter is distributed in the universe.
“There seems to be a little less fluctuation in the current universe than we expected, assuming our standard cosmological model is anchored to the early universe,” said Eric Baxter, an astronomer at the University. of Hawaii and co-author of the research, in a university Release. “The new results’ high precision and robustness to sources of bias present a particularly compelling case that we may be beginning to discover holes in our standard cosmological model.”
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Dark matter is Something in the universe that we cannot observe directly. We know it’s there because of its gravitational effects, but otherwise we can’t see it. Dark matter makes up about 27% of the universe, according to CERN. (Ordinary matter makes up about 5% of the total content of the universe.) The remaining 68% consists of dark energy, a hitherto uncertain category that is evenly distributed throughout the universe and responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe.
The Dark Energy Survey still has three years of data to analyze, and a new look at the cosmic microwave background is currently being undertaken by the South Pole Telescope. Meanwhile, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (high in the Chilean desert of the same name) is currently performing a high-sensitivity survey of the background. With newly accurate data to probe, researchers may be able to put the standard cosmological model to a difficult test.
In 2021, the Atacama telescope helped scientists find a new precise measurement for the age of the universe: 13.77 billion years old. Further interrogation of the cosmic microwave background could also help researchers deal with the Hubble Tension, a disagreement between two of the best ways to measure the expansion of the universe. (Depending on how it’s measured, researchers come up with two different numbers for the rate of this expansion.)
As the means of observation become more precise and more data is collected and analyzed, this information can be fed back into large cosmological models to determine where we went wrong in the past and lead us to new ones. avenues of investigation.
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