What Was Lost Shall Be Found

Study one's own spine
Sooner or later revealed
Questions unanswered

Errr.... Or somethin' like that. VERY cool, regardless.

Missing matter found in deep space

Now about half of the missing baryonic matter has turned up, seen by the orbiting Hubble space telescope and NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE.

"We think we are seeing the strands of a web-like structure that forms the backbone of the universe," said Mike Shull of the University of Colorado, who helped lead the study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The matter is spread as superheated oxygen and hydrogen in what looked like vast empty spaces between galaxies.

However, observations of a quasar -- a bright object far off in space -- show its light is diffused much as a lighthouse can reflect on a thin fog that was invisible in the dark.

"It is kind of like a spider web. The gravity of the spider web is what produced what we see," Shull said in a telephone interview. "It's very thin. Some of it is very hot gas, almost a million degrees."

This is where the dark matter comes in. The dark matter is heating up the gas, Shull said.

"Dark matter has gravity. It pulls the gas in," Shull said. "This causes what I call sonic booms -- shock waves. This shock heats it to a million degrees. That makes it even harder to see."

The atoms of oxygen are in a stripped-down, ionized form. Five of the eight electrons are gone. It emits an ultraviolet spectrum of light that instruments aboard FUSE and Hubble can spot, Shull said.

These web-like filaments of matter are the structure upon which the galaxies form, he said.

[Where shall we go from here?]


  1. I read somewhere, a long time ago, that the universe originates in a turtle, or from a turtle ...

    Perhaps these web-like filaments of dark matter are the pulsing veins of the turtle's heart.

    What a lovely strange post this was, Michael Bains. It will inform my dreams tonight.

  2. I knew I'd read you saying something about a turtle somewhere! lol! Just lost track of this comment.

    Ahhh yea. The Turtle supporting the Four Elephants upon whose backs sits the Discworld.




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