Scientists prove the universe has web-like structure made of 'dim matter'
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Scientists have imaged "dim matter," which is gas collected in theorized strands that connect galaxies across the universe. These strands are believed to have formed about 2 billion years after the Big Bang according to models. Their discovery lends evidence to the leading theory of how the cosmos formed.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers have finally managed to image and prove the existence of the Intergalactic Medium (IGM), strands of gas that connect galaxies throughout the universe. The gas itself is notoriously hard to detect, but it is detectable, leading scientists to dub it "dim matter." This is distinct form dark matter which may comprise the majority of the mass in the universe and is thought to be virtually impossible to physically observe.
Caltech scientists managed to image the IGM in 3D using the Cosmic Web Imager by studying a particular spot of deep space. Peering billions of years into space and as a result, back in time, they observed the filaments of gas illuminated by a quasar, as well as what they call the "Lyman alpha blob" a titanic concentration of gas in deep space.
Scientists were able to image the filaments of gas flowing towards these larger objects.
One of the initial problems of the Big Bang Theory is that it should have produced an even distribution of matter across the universe. Under such conditions, matter would not coalesce into anything. However, it was very quickly realized that space is anything but flat and even. Instead, in the initial chaos of the universe, matter did not distribute evenly and quickly coalesced into structures.
Eventually the matter of the universe began to flow together so that the structure of the cosmos took on the appearance of three-dimensional web.
At the spokes of the web, where most of the gasses concentrated, galaxies formed. The likely trillions of galaxies across the universe are connected by strands of gas.
Until now however, this was simple a hypothesis, strongly suggested by Big Bang Theory. The discovery of concrete evidence of its existence helps to affirm this theory by confirming another fact which bundles with other facts to create the overall theory.
The discovery also affirms the integrity of the models which show this web-like development followed by the formation of galaxies.
Despite the significance of the discovery, the vast majority of the universe, some 96 percent of the total matter within it, is elusive dark matter. Although we cannot yet directly observe dark matter, we can observe its effects across space.
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