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Missing Mass in the Universe Located in Galaxy Filaments by an Australian Student
Scientists have struggled for decades with a basic math problem.
'Where is all the mass that appears to be missing in the universe"?
The problem was solved by a humble Australian student astronomer on a holiday program.
Amazing but true!
This is one of the major unsolved mysteries of science. Astrophysicists were convinced that universe contained more mass than was contained in all the planets, stars galaxies, gas clouds other objects that could be detected by the most powerful telescopes.
They knew it was somewhere because otherwise their calculations on gravity and he rate of expansion of the universe did not work.
It was estimated that up to 50% of the required mass to keep the universe functioning as predicted had gone missing
Galaxy filaments, which are also known as great walls or supercluster complexes are the largest known structures in the universe. They are huge, filament structures that form the boundaries between large empty spaces in the universe. Filaments consist of large number of galaxies bound by gravity. These filaments extend over massive distances through the vast expansion of space and can actually transmit electricity. The filaments are made of plasma, which is like super-hot ionized gasses. Scientists always thought the matter would have a temperature of about 1 million degrees Celsius so it should have been possible to see the filaments at X-ray wavelengths.
The solution came from an unusual source - a student scientist on a holiday science program. Amelia Fraser-McKelvie, a 22-year old student at Monash University, has found the missing mass during a holiday internship at the School of Physics.
Amelia conducted a highly targeted search using an X-ray probe in huge structures in space known as "filaments of galaxies". These elements are huge and stretch for massive distances across vast expanses of space. She was given the job of analysing the collection of data the team of scientists had already gathered through previous research. Her study and processing of the data confirmed that the missing mass was present in the filaments. The math calculations showed that the mass present covered what was missing in the calculations.
Scientist had for the last 20 years thought that the filaments that span for huge distances between various clusters of galaxies could contain the missing mass but had lacked the data to provide it. The technology needed to precisely identify its location only became available in the last few recent years with the development of X-ray probes.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson