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Space Science

Hubble Builds 3D Dark Matter Map 177

Posted by timothy
from the turn-left-go-fast dept.
astroengine writes "Dark matter can't be spotted directly because it doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation (i.e. it doesn't emit any radiation and reflects no light). However, its gravitational influence on space-time can bend light from its otherwise straight path (a phenomenon known as 'lensing'). Using a sophisticated algorithm to scan a comprehensive Hubble Space Telescope survey of the cosmos, astronomers have plotted a map of 'weak lensing' events. Combining this with red shift measurements from ground-based observatories, they've produced a strikingly colorful 3D map of the structure of dark matter."
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Hubble Builds 3D Dark Matter Map

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  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:10PM (#31652134)
    ...especially when you consider it's a picture of something that very possibly doesn't even exist.

    There isn't any "scale bar" because you are not looking at something at any fixed distance! You are looking at (theoretically) blobs of stuff at various distances.
  • by magsol (1406749) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:36PM (#31652308) Homepage Journal
    It's not arrogance; frankly, a true scientist is thrilled at the prospect of being proved wrong. It means they're answering some long-standing questions and posing countless new ones. Furthermore, the concepts of "dark matter" and "dark energy" are still only theories; scientists have yet to definitively prove the existence of these entities. These theories just happen to be the best explanations for what scientists observe.

    The bottom line remains what osgeek above me said: it's easy for you to call the scientists who postulate dark matter "arrogant" considering it's something that has about as much impact on our daily lives as Einstein's Theory of Relativity does (which, when it was being proved, required very specific measurements to be taken, measurements that could only be gathered in a solar eclipse...how's that for completely unnecessary to quotidian life?).

    No, right now we can't definitively prove that the 3D image referenced in TFA is indeed dark matter. But within the parameters of the current hypothesized model, that is what scientists believe to be pockets of dark matter.
  • Old news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dido (9125) <dido@imperi[ ]ph ['um.' in gap]> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:35PM (#31652684)

    I actually submitted a story [slashdot.org] on this exact same topic back in 2007. The only thing new they seem to have now is a nicer picture, the article seems much lighter than the original article [bbc.co.uk] I linked to three years ago. The new article doesn't seem to indicate any new science that has developed since then, not even links or mentions of any new publications updating the findings in 2007, or even mentions of the scientists who are behind this work...

  • by dwreid (966865) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @11:27PM (#31652894)
    You'll find much more complete information here. http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMZ6GSVYVE_index_0.html [esa.int] Unfortunately Discovery is the web site that turns science into an infomercial complete with annoying ads.
  • Star Trek TOS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Monday March 29, 2010 @01:00AM (#31653442) Homepage
    Is it me, or did that pic give anyone else a TOS flashback where they meet some energy-based alien that fucks with the ship?
  • by Kentari (1265084) on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:50AM (#31654512) Homepage

    So are Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

    You say "theory" as if it's a bad thing, while it's the highest you can hope to achieve in science.

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