Scientists release dark matter map; But how it will benefit mankind?

dark matter
Composite image of the Perseus galaxy cluster using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and Hitomi, a Japanese-led X-ray telescope. X-ray: NASA/CXO/Fabian

In a milestone breakthrough, an international team of scientists has released a 3D map of dark matter in the universe. The study report published in the preprint journal arXiv reveals that the research team involved in the study has precisely figured out where dark matter, an unseen energy that accelerates the expansion of the universe.

"Our map gives us a better picture of how much dark energy there is and tells us a little more about its properties and how it's making the expansion of the universe accelerate," said Rachel Mandelbaum, an astronomer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who is a member of the study team, reports.

Dark matter: The mysterious force in the universe

Experts believe that there is a huge amount of matter existing in the universe which cannot see. However, due to its influence, scientists argue that such a force is present, and they call it the dark matter. There are various factors which substantiate the existence of dark matter, and some of them include, gravity tugs on the stars and galaxies around it thus altering their movement and a phenomenon called gravitational lensing which makes the light bends as it passes through the mysterious force.

While building the dark matter 3D map, researchers studied the shapes of up to 10 million galaxies, many of them very far away in space. Most of these far away galaxies were created millions of years ago and the lights from these sources are only reaching the earth now.

Scientists later measured how much the shapes of these galaxies are distorted, and analyzed how much of that distortion was the result of dark matter lensing. It helped the researchers to know how much dark matter the light had to pass through before it reached the earth.

To make the map, researchers made use of data observed by the Japanese Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. The dark matter study project is named Suprime-Cam survey (HSC), and it will continue exploration through space for four years more to make the map more precise and clear.

What is the vitality of dark matter studies?

Even though scientists all around the world are studying more about the existence of dark matter, many experts are still sceptical about the benefits these studies will bring about to the humankind. As per some scientists, researchers are searching dark matter just because they want to scratch an almighty itch.

"It's that itch you get when you're lying awake at night and you get hit with this sudden thought of, 'What does this all even mean?''' said Daniel Coderre, an experimental physicist at the University of Freiburg, reports.

Walter Fulgione, a noted Italian physicist reveals that the discovery of dark matter will not bring about any changes to the progress of earth.

"The only difference is that if you find dark matter, you get a Nobel Prize, but the importance in setting the limits where there is no dark matter is just the same," said Walter.

This article was first published on October 1, 2018