The researchers combined Einstein's theory of relativity with one of the most powerful telescopes, so they were able to measure where and how dark matter structures grow in the Universe. The analysis shows that space structures are able to develop more slowly than previously thought.
Left: A three-dimensional map of the dark matter of the Universe, derived from one of the six observation areas, is shown in the background with different shades of blue (the brighter the area, the more dark matter). The map is based on the distortions of galactic forms (indicated by white marks). Right: Added light from distant galaxies, which passes through all space and is deflected by matter in different epochs of the Universe.
As a result, the team of scientists managed to form a map of dark matter throughout the history of the universe. Based on a detailed analysis of more than a dozen million galaxies. If the results are correct, they challenge the current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics.
The general theory of relativity says that gravity distorts space and time. This theory now successfully predicts the expansion of the Universe, the presence of black holes and the bending of light from distant stellar objects. But, if cosmologists confirm that space is developing more slowly than theory predicts, then we have not yet managed to open a whole branch in physics. Dark matter is responsible for the formation of galaxies, and dark energy is the acceleration of ongoing universal expansion. Together they make up 95% of outer space. The presence of the dark matter density map in the modern Universe and the reconstruction of historical maps for 13 billion years will help to study how dark matter has changed over time. In addition, it would show how dark energy affected the growth of dark matter.
A frame from a video showing a 3D map of the distribution of mass, including dark matter, throughout the Universe. Areas with a greater mass are displayed in brighter red and yellow colors, and smaller ones are blue and black
Dark matter is not shown, but its effect is fixed on galactic forms. Since the gravity of all matter bends the path of light, distant galaxies seem distorted for an earthly observer. Therefore, scientists can determine how dark matter is distributed in the Universe through distortions of galaxies.
The research team analyzed images of 10 million galaxies from the HSC survey - an 870-megapixel camera on the Subaru 8.2-meter telescope. The device allows you to study the galaxy in billions of light years from Earth. Using the information obtained, scientists have compiled the most detailed 3D map of dark matter in the universe. It agrees with previous observations, but hints that space structures are able to develop more slowly than other research groups had predicted.
The team believes that you need to collect more data. This will achieve maximum accuracy and find something specific. Researchers will continue to analyze HSC information. Perhaps their finding will change our understanding of the universe.