Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Scientists Detect 'Missing' Half of Universe's Normal Matter

Scientists Detect 'Missing' Half of Universe's Normal Matter

In their studies, two teams of scientists used the cosmological Lambda-Cold Dark Matter model, which stipulates that dark matter and dark energy comprise more than 95 percent of the universe, while the remaining 4.6 percent include the ordinary (Baryonic) matter consisting of protons, neutrons and electrons. According to current theories regarding the formation of Earth, only 10 percent baryons were visible and about 90 percent of the baryonic matter seem to be missing from the shinier parts of our cosmos.

Scientists have for the first time detected the missing matter in our universe - present in the form of strings of hot gas linking galaxies - that was unaccounted for by previous space observations.

Researchers from Institute of Space Astrophysics in France and University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom found the missing matter made of particles called baryons, linking galaxies together through filaments of hot, diffuse gas.

So the two groups had to find another way to definitively show that these threads of gas are really there.

The teams took advantage of something called the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect.


The scientists analyzed data obtained by the orbiting observatory Planck, created to study the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which remained after the Universe became transparent to thermal radiation.

Both teams selected pairs of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that were expected to be connected by a strand of baryons.

An global group of scientists the study have discovered the missing 50 percent of the visible matter in the Universe.

The teams used a stacking effect to accentuate the otherwise-dim space between galaxies. Both found evidence of gas filaments, and both teams' data suggested that this matter is much denser than the mean of the normal matter in the universe. Researcher Hideki Tanimura from the University of British Columbia said that the final results of both the teams varied because they were looking at filaments at different distances.

The finding is a relief to many astrophysicists, since it confirms some of our most basic assumptions of how galaxies form.

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