A Yale University team has generated one of the highest-resolution maps of the dark matter of a distant galaxy cluster. This offers a detailed study of the presence of cold dark matter which are sluggish particles comprising 80% of the universe’s matter.
This map obtained from Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields data of three galaxy clusters act as cosmic magnifying glasses to survey older and more distant parts of the universe- referred to as gravitational lensing.
Scientists believe that these unseen particles called dark matter neither absorb nor reflect light, but are capable of exerting gravity. These can help explain how galaxies come into existence and how the universe is organised.
The researchers are trying to recognise the important dark matter particles viz., axions and neutralios. These are believed to provide the unseen mass accountable for lensing by bending light from far away galaxies. This bending of light generates systematic curvature in the galaxy shapes observed via the lens.
The map is a close match to the computer simulations of dark matter predicted theoretically by the cold dark matter model. These findings are published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.