Dark Matter

Category archives for Dark Matter

“For me the best answer is not in words but in measurements.” -Elena Aprile Dark matter is perhaps the most mysterious substance in the Universe. It outmasses normal matter and radiation, which includes all the known particles in the Standard Model, by a factor of 5-to-1. The observational, astrophysical evidence for its existence is overwhelming,…

“You may hate gravity, but gravity doesn’t care.” –Clayton Christensen If all we had were galactic rotation curves — like those measured by Vera Rubin — we would know that something was wrong with our picture of the Universe, but we wouldn’t know how. Two equally good explanations, that there was either a flaw in…

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.” -Aleister Crowley As we learn more and more about the Universe, we’d like to describe it…

“Science progresses best when observations force us to alter our preconceptions.” -Vera Rubin When you look at a galaxy in the night sky, it’s easy to imagine that it’s just a system of masses like our Solar System, except on a larger scale. Instead of a single, central mass, you have many stars responsible for…

“…axions are potentially detectable through their weak coupling to electromagnetism…” -Aaron Chou We know, from hundreds of years of experience with the laws of physics, that momentum is strictly conserved, and therefore a reactionless drive is impossible. What’s not impossible is an engine that has a reaction that’s simply invisible, or otherwise undetectable to us.…

“All we know so far is what doesn’t work.” -Richard Feynman The past month has seen a slew of papers out highlighting the tension between modified gravity and dark matter. Both recognize the same puzzles and problems with the Universe, and both ideas recognize that either one could be valid. In fact, if you look…

“All enterprises that are entered into with indiscreet zeal may be pursued with great vigor at first, but are sure to collapse in the end.” -Tacitus Dark matter makes up the overwhelming majority of mass in the Universe. With five times as much of it as there is normal matter, and the fact that it…

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” -J. K. Galbraith Last month, tensions between dark matter simulations and galactic rotation observations reached a new high. Despite all the successes of dark matter on the largest scales —…

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” -Francis Bacon If you had previously thought the Universe contained a certain amount of stuff, like stars, galaxies and matter, then you might think that learning it had ten times as many galaxies might mean it had ten times as much…

“Nothing in the standard cosmological model predicts this, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that model could be modified to explain it, without discarding the dark matter hypothesis completely.” -David Merritt Dark matter is a hugely successful theory for explaining a whole slew of observations about the Universe. Just by adding this one ingredient…