Astronomers using the W. M. Keck Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other telescopes on Mauna Kea have studied a giant filament of dark matter in 3D for the first time. Image released Oct. 17. 2012.
CREDIT: Image by ESA; additional elements by K. Teramura, Univ. Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

Dark Matter Mystery May Soon Be Solved

by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 26 November 2012 Time: 07:08 AM ET

The hiding spots for the particles making up dark matter are narrowing, and the answer to this cosmic mystery could come within the next three or four years, scientists say.

Dark matter is an elusive substance that is invisible and almost never detected, except by its gravitational pull. Yet astronomers say it likely makes up a quarter of the entire universe and dwarfs the amount of normal matter (galaxies, stars and planets) out there in space.

Just last week, particle physics discovery from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland cast doubt on a theory called supersymmetry, which predicts the existence of particles that are among the leading candidates for dark matter. That finding limited the types of supersymmetric particles that can exist, but didn’t take the supersymmetry explanation off the table completely.

Read more: Dark Matter Running Out of Places to Hide | Dark Matter Direct Detection Experiments | Space.

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