Scientists have discovered strands of invisible dark matter that hold two galaxy clusters together. Abell 222 and Abell 223 are approximately 2.7 billion light years away, with the filament being discovered by detecting gravitational lensing effects. Jörg Dietrich of the University Observatory Munich believes it backs up the theory that this is a standard structure formation of the universe.
It was widely believed that the dark matter filaments would only be able to be detectied with much more advanced telescopes in the future, but Dietrich and his team of researchers took advantage of the rare spatial geometry of the cluster, ultimately detecting the filament thanks to weak gravitational lensing.
Abell 222 and Abell 223 appear close together as we look away from Earth, but are farther apart than we’re able to see. Any light that arrives at Earth from that section of the universe has to pass through the clusters, which boosts the gravitational lensing signal. The lensing wasn’t strong enough to see by eye, but the team compared it against 40,000 other galaxies to figure out that the mass between the clusters was warping space-time, leading to the conclusion that the unidentified substance was dark matter.
[via Christian Science Monitor]