Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Accidental discovery may help solve a fundamental mystery of the universe.

Astronomers may have solved one of the deepest mysteries of the universe after observing a distant, high-energy object with the Keck telescope in Hawaii. After taking observations of a quasar in deep space, they found that its energy was illuminating a network of gas filaments which could be responsible for the universe's elusive "dark matter."

The structure of the universe in a computer model. The bright spots are galaxies and the purple filaments are made of dark matter.

The structure of the universe in a computer model. The bright spots are galaxies and the purple filaments are made of dark matter.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

1/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Quasar, dark matter, flashlight, filament, nebula, gas, big bang

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have a pretty good understanding of how the universe works at the cosmic-level. Their models all accurately predict the behavior of space phenomena from the orbits of planets, to the whirl of galaxies, and the expansion of spacetime itself.

Despite this, there is one troubling factor. Their models rely on the presence of matter, which at least up until now, has never been directly observed.

Did you know gold is formed when stars explode? Own a piece of a supernova with a medal of the patron saint of astronomers, St. Dominic.

This mysterious matter has long been assumed to exist because without it, the universe would not work the way it does. However, our inability to observe it directly has stumped researchers who have sought to discern its nature.

Now, scientists think dark matter could exist in the form of gas, and be aggregated in the filaments that appear to stretch between galaxies and clusters of galaxies.

Space is not a perfect vacuum, despite what you may have been taught in school. Space is filled with atoms of various sorts as well as subatomic particles, some of which simply pop into, and out of existence quite spontaneously, like bubbles in a glass of soda.

Of course, even in a nebula, a region where the dust and gas are well-concentrated, the material is still quite diffuse by human standards. If you could walk through a nebula, which is a region of dust and gas in space, usually created by the explosion of massive stars that can be larger than thousands of solar systems, and visible across millions of light-years of space.

In the current case, astronomers using the Keck telescope in Hawaii were observing a quasar that was 10 billion light years away from Earth. A quasar is a super-energetic galaxy with a super-massive black hole at the center, emitting massive amounts of radiation into space along a narrow beam, that is in this case, pointed at Earth.

That bean of light has taken 10 billion years to reach us on Earth. In the process, the waves of radiation were stretched by the expansion of the universe itself into a faint, violent light, which the telescope observed.

That faint light also helped them see a massive nebulous filament, at least twice the size of any nebula observed before, stretching across 2 million light-years. That means light from one edge of the nebula would take 10 million years to get to the other side.

The find was unexpected and subsequent observations, bolstered by modeling, revealed that gas probably connects to another galaxy in space. Such phenomena have been predicted, but never observed.

If accurate, then the filament, seen for the first time, could be the concrete evidence scientists need to complete their physical macro-model of the universe. It explains where all of the dark matter, believed to provide most of the mass in the universe, is hiding.

It would also confirm veracity of the popular model of the universe formed, specifically by means of the Big Bang. The Big Bang was originally suggested as the most reasonable explanation for the physical origin of the universe by Catholic priest and professor, Msgr. Georges Lemaitre.

In addition to supporting the Big Bang model of the universe's formation, the confirmation of the existence of dark matter and a better understanding of its nature, will help cosmologists predict what will happen at the end of the universe, at some incredibly distant time in the future.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Technology

UN delay in deadly robot ban could lead to extreme robot wars Watch

Image of


The United Nations has been warned over the delay in negotiations pertaining to the autonomous lethal weapons of the future. Speculation rose that this delay may lead to failure to stop deadly robot wars from taking place.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At ... continue reading

'Phubbing,' ignoring friends while talking on cell phones leads to strained relationships Watch

Image of Digital Trends defines phubbing as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the digital age, the new mantra should be, "The most important in the world - is the one that I am with." "Phubbing," the rude practice of taking cell phone calls while ignoring the people near you is described as being an epidemic problem in the United ... continue reading

Police track criminals with planted GPS devices Watch

Image of


It has been months since police began tracking down a single man in a hoodie with a black ski mask caught holding up one gas station after another. It took authorities a bit of time before they solved a Long Island robbery spree, as the grainy surveillance footage was ... continue reading

Futurist predicts that robots will reside in human brains by 2030 Watch

Image of Futurist and lecturer Ray Kurzweil foresees the day when the human race will transform following  the implantation of nanobots into our brains, connecting us to the Internet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Futurist and lecturer Ray Kurzweil foresees the day when the human race will transform with the help of nanobots, which will be implanted into our brains to connect us to the Internet. Kurzweil welcomes the day, which he predicts will be in the year 2030. While he is ... continue reading

NASA enlists public help in solving the mystery of Ceres Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from NASA are seeking answers for the mysteries of moon-like dwarf planet Ceres. On Wednesday, the agency announced they are accepting suggestions from the public that they report would be taken "very seriously." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After ... continue reading

Breakthrough for short-term memory loss: Brain implant can now encode human memories Watch

Image of Much, if not all human experience resides in the memory. Now, an implant that encodes human memory is giving new hope to Alzheimer's patients and wounded soldiers who have lost their short-term memories.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Much, if not all human experience resides in the memory. Now, an implant that encodes human memory is giving new hope to Alzheimer's patients and wounded soldiers who have lost their short-term memories. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Developed at the ... continue reading

Scammers take advantage of Facebook dislike button Watch

Image of


Online scams are still prevalent, especially with the steady growth of new users. Social media giant Facebook gets new users every single day. However, novice users can pose dangers to themselves and to their Facebook friends by calling for "dislike" button scams. ... continue reading

Breast cancer without chemotherapy? Watch

Image of Chemotherapy may no longer be needed in early-stage breast cancer patients (OneBode).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major study's results show promise for a gene-activity test that gauges early-stage breast cancer patients' risks. The test can tell who will benefit from chemotherapy treatment and who will not. Those who do not require chemotherapy are not negatively affected by ... continue reading

Good News, Bad News! California scientists discover water --on Mars Watch

Image of Jaded Californians are already having fun with the announcement.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The good news? Scientists in California have found water! The bad news? It's on Mars. Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California have announced through NASA, the finding of recent water flows on Mars, demonstrating the planet still has liquid ... continue reading

Apple watch credited for saving teen's life Watch

Image of Paul Houle was saved by his Apple watch.


A Cape Cod, Massachusetts high school senior almost ran out of luck when he felt ill after a football practice last week. He experienced back and chest pains long after football practices ended and his heart rate seemed irregular. It was then the teen checked his pulse ... continue reading

All Technology News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
13 Priests, put on sackcloth and lament! You ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 9:2-3, 6, 16, 8-9
6 the enemy is wiped out -- mere ruins for ever -- ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:15-26
15 But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 9th, 2015 Image

Sts. Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
October 9: The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around ... Read More