Dark matter from billions of years ago finally seen by scientists

dark matter from billions of years ago has finally been discovered by scientists on Earth.

Researchers were able to investigate the nature of dark matter that surrounded galaxies as they were 12 billion years ago. That’s billions of years earlier than we could ever have seen.

Scientists hope the groundbreaking findings can reveal the secrets of the still-mysterious dark matter that makes up a significant part of our universe, but is largely unknown.

It has already provided tantalizing clues to the history of our cosmos. Researchers say the findings suggest that the fundamental rules of the universe were different in the earliest times.

As the name suggests, scientists cannot see dark matter directly because it does not emit light. Instead, scientists usually watch how light travels through the galaxies they want to study, and measure how it travels — the more it’s distorted, the more dark matter there is.

However, the farthest galaxies—those we see as they existed billions of years ago—are too dim for this technique to work. The distortion is not well discernible and the dark matter has remained impossible to analyze.

As a result, scientists were unable to investigate dark matter from more than about 10 billion years ago. The time before that and the beginning of the universe, 13.7 billion years ago, remained incomprehensible.

Now scientists say they have overcome that problem by using a different source: the microwaves released by the Big Bang. The team measured how those microwaves were distorted instead of light, which allowed them to see dark matter from the beginning of the cosmos and look at galaxies shortly after they formed.

“Most researchers use source galaxies to measure the distribution of dark matter from now to eight billion years ago,” added assistant professor Yuichi Harikane of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo. “However, we could look further back into the past because we used the more distant CMB to measure dark matter. For the first time, we have measured dark matter from almost the earliest moments of the universe.”

The results revealed a series of surprises, including the way dark matter clumped together in the early Universe. The theory suggests that the dark matter would stick together and form clumps in the cosmos — but that was much less than predicted.

“Our finding is still uncertain,” said Hironao Miyatake of the University of Nagoya, who led the team. “But if true, it would indicate that the whole model is flawed if you go further back in time. This is exciting because if the result holds after the uncertainties are reduced, it could suggest an improvement in the model that can provide insight into the nature of dark matter itself.”

An article detailing the findings has been published in: Physical Assessment Letters.

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