February 13, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Good news from outer space!

Wired News reports that Scientists Find Missing Matter

For years, astrophysicists have been boggled by the fact that the grand sum of all the known "normal" matter in the universe -- that which makes up the stars, the Earth and even our own bodies -- only amounts to half of what should exist based on computer simulations.

A new study conducted with the help of the Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed the existence of [normal matter] in at least two giant, intergalactic clouds of super-hot gas 150 million and 380 million light-years from our planet.

The matter in those clouds -- extrapolated over the rest of the universe -- accounts for the missing matter.

However, ordinary matter -- that is to say, anything that we are made of and anything that particle physicists have detected in particle colliders -- don't really amount to a hill of beans when the whole universe is added up.

Whereas baryons [normal matter] account for 4 percent of the total matter and energy in the universe, dark matter, a mysterious and unseen form of matter that has so far only been detected by the gravitational pull it exerts on other bodies in the universe, is thought to make up 23 percent.


The remaining 73 percent of the so-called matter-energy budget consists of what scientists call "dark energy." This energy acts like an anti-gravitational force that, in theory, is causing the universe to expand rather than contract.


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