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Dark matter is a type of matter hypothesised in and to account for effects that appear to be the result of mass where no such mass can be seen.
Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level.
This three-dimensional map offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe's mass.
image: NASA/ESA/Richard Massey,
It is otherwise hypothesised to simply be matter that is not reactant to light
Instead, the existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe.
According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the known universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy.
Thus, dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe, while dark energy plus dark matter constitute 95.1% of the total content of the universe.
Why it is needed
Astrophysicists hypothesised the existence of dark matter to account for discrepancies between the mass of large astronomical objects determined from their gravitational effects, and their mass as calculated from the observable matter (stars, gas, and dust) that they can be seen to contain.
The gravitational effects of dark matter suggest that their masses are much greater than the observable matter survey suggests.
Strong gravitational lensing as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in Abell 1689 indicates the presence of dark matter—enlarge the image to see the lensing arcs. image:
Source adapted from: Dark matter. (2015, November 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:19, November 15, 2015, from
Dark matter mights be like fine hairs crossing the universe
Recent related Tweet about Dark Matter
Physicists from around the globe have sought to understand the dark matter and dark energy that appear to make up 95% of our Universe.— Science Magazine (@ScienceMagazine) June 7, 2022
A new book takes readers through this century-long journey. https://t.co/9vkAOJ3K3q @SciMagBooks pic.twitter.com/efegsV8qq5