Using a combination of Einstein's quantum physics concepts and general relativity, scientists from the University of Susses uncover new secrets of dark matter and how to calculate its mass range.

Galaxy Cluster ZwCl 0024+1652 and Dark Matter Map
(Photo: NASA Hubble / Wikimedia Commons)
This Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows a ghostly "ring" of dark matter in the galaxy cluster ZwCl0024+1652. The ring-like structure is evident in the blue map of the cluster's dark matter distribution.

Dark Matter Explained

Around 95% of the universe is still unknown to man. The term 'dark' explains how vastly misunderstood and unknown the cosmos are to us. However, scientists can uncover bits and pieces that help us better understand the unknown.

According to NASA, researchers used a theoretical model to predict the composition of the universe. Scientists theorize that roughly 68% dark energy, 27% dark matter, and 5% normal matter makes up the universe.

Dark matter isn't in the same form as the planets and stars we see. Scientists observe that it is too little visible matter in the universe that will not be able to make up for the theorized 27%. 

Unlike normal matter, dark matter does not interact with electromagnetic forces, says CERN.  This means that dark matter does not absorb, reflect, or emit visible light, making it virtually impossible for scientists to spot. 

Although the nature and origin of the dark matter still puzzle scientists today, one theory suggests that there exists a 'Hidden Valley,' a parallel world made of dark matter where nothing resembles our own.

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New Findings on Dark Matter

Researchers from the University of Sussex discover how to know more about dark matter. 

In a study published in the journal Physics Letters B, scientists were able to narrow down the range of masses where particles that constitute dark matter may be found.

The range established by researchers is 10^-3 electron-volts to 10^7 electron-volts, which is significantly smaller than earlier forecasts of 10^-24 electron-volt to 10^19 Giga electron-volt.

Xavier Calmet, author and physicist from the University of Sussex, UK, says, "This is the first time that anyone has thought to use what we know about quantum gravity to calculate the mass range for dark matter.

He adds by saying, "What we've done shows that dark matter cannot be either ultra-light or super-heavy.

Calmet and his colleagues' research shows that dark matter cannot belong in the extreme ends of the spectrum unless an external force acts upon it. The research might be able to help find out more about the mysterious forces in the universe. 

There are currently four known forces in the Universe--electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, and strong.

Experts explain that dark matter's gravitational effects are necessary to explain the clusters of motion of galaxies and, by definition, the structure of the entire known Universe. In small portions, dark matter is too diffused to impact the Solar System, Earth, or man's evolutionary history.

Abraham Loeb, chair of the Department of Astronomy from Harvard University, says, "There needs to be a form of matter that does not couple to the radiation for galaxies to form.

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