Bridge to Another Galaxy Found?

By Earnest Jones, The Goldwater · 04-14-2017
Photo credit: Rastan |

Astrophysicists in Canada have captured the first image of a dark matter bridge which is believed to form the links between galaxies. A technique known as weak gravitational lensing was used by researchers at the University of Waterloo to create a composite image of the bridge.

The technique is an effect that causes the images of distant galaxies to warp slightly under the influence of an unseen mass, in this case, dark matter.

A combination of combined lens images constituted the composite image which was taken of more than 23,000 galaxy pairs, spotted 4.5 billion light-years away. The effect was measured by a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

This confirms predictions that galaxies across the Universe are tied together through a cosmic web of the elusive substance. The results revealed that the dark matter filament bridge is strongest between systems less than 40 million light years apart.

One of the mysterious things in the universe is the Dark matter. It is said to make up around 84 percent of the Universe. It’s known as dark because it doesn't shine, absorb or reflect light, which has traditionally made it largely undetectable, except through gravity and gravitational lensing.

Astrophysical observation of galaxies provides evidence for the existence of this form of matter. Propositions from Astrophysics have claimed that the Universe's web of stars and galaxies is supported by a cosmic scaffolding made up of fine threads of this invisible dark matter.

The threadlike strands are believed to have been formed just after the Big Bang when denser portions of the Universe drew in the dark matter until it collapsed and formed flat disks, which featured fine filaments of dark matter at their joints. Galaxies then formed at the cross-section of these filaments.

Mike Hudson, who is a professor of astronomy at the University of Waterloo, indicated that researchers have been predicting the existence of dark matter filaments between galaxies that act like a web-like superstructure connecting galaxies together.

Axion, which was first proposed in 1977, is one of the possible candidates for dark matter. Axion appears in some extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics. However, astronomers believe that if axions make up dark matter, they could be detected through gravitational waves.

Physicists are struggling to build a clear picture of what dark matter really is but they have a general understanding of what they are. By examining the movement of galaxies, they are able to track the distribution of dark matter throughout the galaxy. However, the challenge comes with pinpointing its exact design or location.


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