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Researchers may have solved the great mystery of dark matter

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRAThis may come as a surprise, but we do not really know exactly what constitutes…

 Dark matter halo surrounds the galaxy, illustration

This may come as a surprise, but we do not really know exactly what constitutes our entire universe. Do not freak out though.

An Oxford researcher has suggested a new theory that may have lay down in bed for one of Cosmos greatest mysteries.

Researchers long believed that the universe grew but would eventually slow down. When the Hubble telescope came and started to look in space, it felt strange. The universe was not slower &#821

1; it grew at an accelerating pace. It was not meaningful and astrophysics could not explain it.

They wiped out with some competing theories, but have largely decided for this: 95 percent of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy, two phenomena that we can not see but what researchers believe to exist due to their effects on the things we can see .

Dark matter and dark energy have been regarded as separate phenomena, but Jamie Farnes, an astrophysicist at Oxford University, believes that both dark matter and dark energy can exist together as a “dark fluid of negative masses.” The fluid would then have a negative gravity – instead of drawing objects against them, they would push them away. It’s an unusual concept, but it’s not new.

The theory of science, published in scientific journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, will explain some of the bizarre features of the universe. For one, the galaxies grow so fast that they should tear apart – but it seems like a “dark matter halo” prevents such destruction. The new theory suggests that the negative mass of “dark fluid” can cause these halves to form.

The negative matter represents a problem in suggesting that dark energy becomes less dense over time – and observations indicate that this is not the case, dark energy remains relatively constant. Thus, Farnes uses the theory of “material creation”, the idea that more and more things are constantly blowing into existence and complementing the negative matter that disappears.

His paper uses a good illustrative concept for the model: Space is empty but “almost resembles popcorn – with more negative masses that constantly show up to existence.”

Delicious .

The theory of “dark fluid” is just a theory – based on computer simulation and mathematics. Farnes himself warns that it could be wrong and researchers have the right to be suspicious.

“On the front of it there are some features [of our universe] but the question is now: Can it explain the other observations we have of the universe?” says Geraint Lewis, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney.

“There is a whole lot of tests that we must do first before we can say that this corresponds to our current understanding, and then we have to find out what predictions this model makes that the current cosmological model would fail.”

One of the most important things that must be solved is the question of the negative mass. Lewis explains that we do not feel nitty-gritty behind mechanisms that can create such a phenomenon.

“You can write down equations for different things, but whether these things are physically realized, we do not know until we actually go out and test the universe,” he says.

This means there is work to do – and work is already underway at places like CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, to investigate the existence of negative masses similar to those proposed by Farnes. Another project, Square Kilometer Array which will be the world’s largest radio telescope when built, can also help Farne’s theory to get out of the field, so to speak.

“We have always been driving the boundary of basic physics, every time we open a new area – at first it seems esoteric and strange – but eventually it flows into our daily lives,” Lewis says.

First published 5 December, 4:23 pm PT.

Update 5:10 pm: Add Comment by Professor Lewis

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