Collision of galaxy clusters provides striking evidence for dark matterAugust 28th, 2008 - 11:48 am ICT by ANI
Washington, August 28 (ANI): A powerful collision of galaxy clusters, captured with NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope, has provided striking evidence for dark matter and insight into its properties.
Like the Bullet Cluster, this newly studied cluster, officially known as MACSJ0025.4-1222, shows a clear separation between dark and ordinary matter.
This helps answer a crucial question about whether dark matter interacts with itself in ways other than via gravitational forces.
This finding is important because it independently verifies the results found for the Bullet Cluster in 2006.
The new results show the Bullet Cluster is not an exception and that the earlier results were not the product of some unknown error.
Just like the original Bullet Cluster, MACSJ0025 formed after an incredibly energetic collision between two large clusters in almost the plane of the sky.
In some ways, MACSJ0025 can be thought of as a prequel to the Bullet Cluster. At its much larger distance of 5.7 billion light years, astronomers are witnessing a collision that occurred long before the Bullet Clusters.
Using optical images from Hubble, the team was able to infer the distribution of the total mass - dark and ordinary matter - using a technique known as gravitational lensing.
The Chandra data enabled the astronomers to accurately map the position of the ordinary matter, mostly in the form of hot gas, which glows brightly in X-rays.
An important difference between the Bullet Cluster and the new system is that MACSJ0025 does not actually contain a bullet. This feature is a dense, X-ray bright core of gas that can be seen moving through the Bullet Cluster.
Nonetheless, the amount of energy involved in this mammoth collision is nearly as extreme as that found in the Bullet Cluster.
As the two clusters that formed MACSJ0025 (each almost a whopping million billion times the mass of the Sun) merged at speeds of millions of miles per hour, the hot gas in each cluster collided and slowed down, but the dark matter did not.
The separation between the material shown in pink and blue in the images therefore provides direct evidence for dark matter and supports the view that dark matter particles interact with each other only very weakly or not at all, apart from the pull of gravity. (ANI)
- When mammoth galaxy clusters collide in a 'cosmic free-for-all' - Apr 17, 2009
- Scientists discover active black hole in the 'Eye of Sauron' - Mar 11, 2011
- Awesome power of supermassive black holes revealed - Apr 17, 2010
- Chandra images show result of star formation on overdrive - Jan 14, 2011
- NASA finds giant ring of black holes - Feb 10, 2011
- Detailed maps of dark matter offer clues to galaxy cluster growth - Nov 12, 2010
- Eruption of galactic 'super-volcano' caught in action - Aug 20, 2010
- Boffins uncover most powerful pair of jets ever seen from a black hole - Jul 08, 2010
- Discovery pinpoints location of missing matter in universe - May 12, 2010
- Supernova remnant erupts in enormous flares - May 12, 2011
- How black holes fire gas jets into space - Jan 12, 2012
- Astronomers discover earliest ever black holes - Jun 16, 2011
- Chandra X-ray observing telescope celebrates 10th anniversary - Mar 13, 2010
- China unveils ambitious space projects - Aug 22, 2012
- NASA telescopes discover most distant galaxy cluster - Jan 13, 2011