Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hubble Telescope Discovered Dark Matter

Dark matter makes up about 73% of our universe, according to space.com.

Well, a discovery the Hubble Telescope was responsible for is dark matter, which has a unique composition compared to gas and dust in galaxies, and makes up most of the universe. A dark matter ring was discovered in 2007 at the site of two galaxy clusters’ collision, 5 billion light-years away from Earth. It was detected by the deflection, or bending of light in background galaxies when looking at the two galaxies’ collisions. The dark matter is probably a result of the high gravity following the collision. Evidence for dark matter, therefore, is indirect, only detectable when galaxies in the foreground caused distortions in the light of galaxies in the background.

Currently, the Hubble Space Telescope’s ACS is being used to survey dwarf galaxies 250 million light years away, in the Perseus Cluster. It is still too far away to detect small stars that may be too faint, but larger, more luminous stars are still readily detected. The Hubble Space Telescope revealed that at least 12 of the stars in the Perseus Cluster require dark matter. The stars appear smoother, scientists believe, because of the presence of dark matter, relative to the stars in spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way. The dark matter would protect these dwarf galaxies, whose stars have a high mass to light ratio (Hubble made it possible to calculate their mass by measuring the amount of X-ray radiation emitted by the hot gases of the stars), from being destroyed by outside gravitational pull. The discovery of this phenomenon would have been impossible without the incredibly high detail provided by a space telescope such as Hubble. As previously mentioned, ground telescopes have too much background light interference and not enough resolution for study of individual stars in galaxies outside our own. [1] [2]


1. Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter. 5 Oct 2010. Available:

2. Hubble Provides New Evidence for Dark Matter in Small Galaxies. 14 Nov 2010. Available:

Edit: If there's anything I want you to get from these recent posts on the Hubble, it's that funding for space programs helps us understand so many new things about the universe we live in and its beautiful physical laws. Dark matter would have probably remained a mystery if it had not been for the images from Hubble. Please write to your representatives urging them to continue supporting NASA or PBS, which has fascinating programs to educate us all.

35 scientific replies:

Hento the loony repairman :D said...

i find it fascinating that in order to witness a blakc hole or dark matter you have to look for the abscense of stars /light.. and judge from the warped light coming from other stars .. thus knowing SOMETHING is there in the middle :3

Anonymous said...

I find this world very very fascinating|

Natural One said...

Hmmm, scientists - the people who told us at one time the world was flat. And "the big bang theory" Haven't seen any bangs recently. Sorry for the rant, but these guys are just guessing.

Dalf said...

@Natural One: technically, we are all just guessing, that's part of the fun of living and learning in the universe. Even if you're a person on faith, it may look like a "guess" to others.

Hopefully americans will spend more in space research!

(BTW: remember my offer regarding your alien sketch)

Formhault said...

I've read about dark matter so much. I'm tired of it. I want to see what good use they're going to find for it (as scientists always say : "we can use it to... erm w8 a second, collider is about to explode")

My 2 Pesos said...

The very name "dark matter" is fascinating!

D22 Zone said...

A really very interesting read! I hope you keep updating us with more info!

Bersercules said...

But most money NASA gets goes to its bloated managment system! Very little goes to actually funding space stuff!

Bersercules said...

@Natural One scientists never thought the world was flat. People thought it was flat and treatened to kill scientists if they said differently! Scientists figured it out in about 100 bc with watching when it was high noon then having a runner run to another city far away and it being high noon there then they fugured out from the time and distence how the world curved and figured out its shape and relitive size. All over 2000 years ago!

The Lunatic Pope said...

where can I buy some of this Dark Matter? I have an...um...project I'm working on....

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

Sell NOTHING to The Lunatic Pope, Genetics! He's going to become a mad scientist, just watch!!

As is, yer preachin' to the choir darlin' - I've long been a supporter of space technology, NASA and even the privatization of space travel and terracolonizing technologies.

Of course that was also about fifteen years ago...in today's unchecked, manipulative and increasingly political market I've actually switch tracks to the opinion of keeping it COMPLETELY government-controlled. If, for no other reason, than to ensure that such technology and research not be used against our populace like any other privatized field.

Still, not enough is being done today! Not enough funding to NASA, not enough movement towards harnessing the potential of space travel and spatial exploitation...just, not friggin' enough.

Of course I also believe that we're spending money in all the wrong places to begin with. Not enough to public education, not enough to ANY kind of reformation or true updating of ANY of our systems, and above all too much being funded to outside, blatantly anti-American sources and lining the pockets of the greedy.

I do believe in a free market, but I also believe in careful checks and balances. Laissez-faire should work both ways, y'knowwhatImean? The MOMENT special interests groups gained even a toehold of the power they hold today is the day education and research started stagnating.

GMSoccerPicks said...

Reading this kind of posts make me feel dumb. Not because i don't understand, but because there is sooo much that i don't know. I could read for hours about outter space topics.

jose mata said...

I am not a fan of learning things but the things you post are actually things I am interested in. Keep up the good work

George Anderson said...

Interesting post, interesting blog! +followed

ZIane said...

Interesting, how something can teach us so much just by looking at it.

Michael Westside said...

Fun fact: Most cellphones got a better resolution than the hubble telescope

convictus said...

We spend more money keeping rust off our our military equipment then we used to on the whole Nasa program. Such a sad time for science in this country.

Tony Storm said...

thats awesome!

Kyran said...

Been reading a lot of things on space this week. These dark matter protective cocoons are very interesting. We need to get a [i]deeper[/i] space telescope! And yeah, some funding for nasa would be great. Stop spending money on rockets with warheads in them and start sending some more into space. There are things to be learned that would benefit all of humanity. Hopefully some private corporations with more ambitions and lucrative finances will take over space exploration.

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