Dark matter affects the speed of the planet

The secret of the dark universe

Everything we see, smell, or touch, including planets and stars, is made of normal matter. This in turn consists of atoms.

All objects that are made up of atoms exert a force of attraction on each other, depending on their mass. This phenomenon is called gravity. Gravity causes small, low-mass objects to be attracted to more massive objects. That is why, for example, an apple falls to the ground.

Astronomers suspect that there must be another kind of matter - an invisible, "dark" matter that is distributed throughout the universe. Research into the Milky Way and numerous distant galaxies has shown that the speed of rotation of the stars in these galaxies cannot be explained by the visible matter alone. Because this could not generate enough attraction to hold the galaxies together.

As a result, science assumes that there must be some unknown matter in the apparently empty space between the stars, especially since its attraction also influences the path of starlight to earth. Matter - normal as well as dark matter - works like a magnifying glass: it can deflect and distort the light of the galaxies and star clusters behind it. With the help of this so-called gravitational lensing effect, astronomers can determine the distribution of dark matter.

Only about 15% of the matter in the universe is made up of atoms. The rest is dark matter. However, nobody knows what it is made of. All that is known is that it does not absorb, emit or reflect light, because no scientific instrument can directly detect dark matter.

Many scientists suspect that dark matter consists predominantly of unknown, subatomic particles, i.e. particles that are smaller than atoms and practically do not interact with normal matter. If that's true, billions of these particles passed through your body while reading this article. With the help of underground facilities in which appropriate experiments are carried out, we may at some point be able to capture a few of these particles and solve the mystery of dark matter.

Last modified April 08, 2016

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