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Hubble Telescope Detects 'Smaller' Clumps of Dark Matter Holding Galaxy Clusters, Says NASA

Dark matter, an invisible substance, forms the temporary structure on which galaxies are built and it is the gravitational glue that holds galaxy clusters together.

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Updated:January 10, 2020, 7:12 PM IST
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Astronomy, Space Science, Space Exploration, Technology News
Representative Image. (Photo: Reuters)

Astronomers have revealed that dark matter forms much smaller clumps than previously known. The study by the astronomers was carried out using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and a new observing technique.

Dark matter, an invisible substance, forms the temporary structure on which galaxies are built. Basically, it is the gravitational glue that holds galaxy clusters together. The invisible matter is made up of baryonic matter, which consists of electrons, protons, and neutrons.

The result obtained from the study of dark matter establishes the veracity of one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted "cold dark matter" theory, which tells all galaxies form and are rooted within clouds of dark matter.

The astronomers reached to the conclusion by measuring how the light from faraway quasars, the bright black-hole-powered cores of very distant galaxies, behaves as it passes through space. The study revealed that light while travelling through the space got magnified by the gravity of massive foreground galaxies due to gravitational lensing, which led to the detection of dark matter clumps.

Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can observe its presence by noticing how its gravity affects galaxies and stars. Before the results of this study came out, researchers, in the absence of information about small clumps, had developed alternative theories, including warm dark matter. The warm dark matter tells that the invisible matter particles move too quickly to merge and form smaller concentrations.

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