News24

Dark matter baffles astronomers

2012-04-19 07:26

Paris - Astronomers scanning the Milky Way said on Wednesday they were baffled when they failed to spot something invisible.

To explain: The team were looking for evidence of dark matter, the substance that is believed to comprise 83% of matter in the Universe.

But it cannot be detected by the naked eye or by existing astronomical techniques.

Instead it is detected indirectly, from the gravitational pull that it exerts on other phenomena.

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said they had expected to spot evidence for dark matter swirling around the Sun after they mapped the motions of more than 400 stars in the Milky Way.

But they found nothing.

"The amount of mass that we derive matches very well with what we see - stars, dust and gas - in the region around the Sun," team leader Christian Moni Bidin of Chile's University of Concepcion said in a press release.

"But this leaves no room for the extra material - dark matter - that we were expecting. Our calculations show that it should have shown up very clearly in our measurements. But it was just not there!"

"Despite the new results, the Milky Way certainly rotates much faster than the visible matter alone can account for.

"So, if dark matter is not present where we expected it, a new solution for the missing mass problem must be found. Our results contradict the currently accepted models. The mystery of dark matter has just become even more mysterious," he added.

The ESO team used a 2.2m telescope at La Silla Observatory, located in the southern part Chile's bone-dry Atacama desert, to draw up the map.

Comments
  • Richard - 2012-04-19 08:04

    The missing dark matter can be found in between Julias's ears

  • SaintBruce - 2012-04-19 08:25

    And the Invisible God who created all matter out of Faith smiles gently to Himself asking, "Why don't they just read my book and know that I am God and certain mysteries I have kept from you as a sign of the work of my hands?" I want the scientists to solve this dilemma and check their work against the laws of Thermodynamics to see if their expectations can be met or not. If they can't, we have factors that defy science and that points to knowledge and abilities above our current comprehension.

      Jack - 2012-04-19 08:31

      Tis only a matter of time.

      Jack - 2012-04-19 08:31

      Tis only a matter of time.

      Rainbow - 2012-04-19 08:33

      And the Invisible God who created all matter out of Faith smiles gently to Himself asking, "Why don't they just read my book and know that I am God and certain mysteries I have kept from you as a sign of the work of my hands?" Amen!

      Rainbow - 2012-04-19 08:33

      And the Invisible God who created all matter out of Faith smiles gently to Himself asking, "Why don't they just read my book and know that I am God and certain mysteries I have kept from you as a sign of the work of my hands?" Amen!

      phillip.crossley - 2012-04-19 08:40

      At least they are asking questions and searching for answers.... not like the religious faithful who take the word of some person who wrote fiction 2000 years ago.

      phillip.crossley - 2012-04-19 08:40

      At least they are asking questions and searching for answers.... not like the religious faithful who take the word of some person who wrote fiction 2000 years ago.

      Bob - 2012-04-19 08:41

      Because then we'd go back to the stone ages

      Bob - 2012-04-19 08:41

      Because then we'd go back to the stone ages

      Kosta - 2012-04-19 08:44

      Let's classify all the scientists as witches and burn them at the stake because what we really want to do is go back to the dark ages when the church ruled and the world was flat.

      Kosta - 2012-04-19 08:44

      Let's classify all the scientists as witches and burn them at the stake because what we really want to do is go back to the dark ages when the church ruled and the world was flat.

      Ben - 2012-04-19 08:53

      That's how science works. Theory. Test for fact on theory. Fail. More tests. Until something is found otherwise get a new theory. They don't think up theory. Believe in it. Don't test for it. Shoots down all other theories. It's illogical and insane.

      Ben - 2012-04-19 08:53

      That's how science works. Theory. Test for fact on theory. Fail. More tests. Until something is found otherwise get a new theory. They don't think up theory. Believe in it. Don't test for it. Shoots down all other theories. It's illogical and insane.

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 09:07

      You the "invisible god" who (or proof thereof) also can't be found and never has been? Ok.

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 09:07

      You the "invisible god" who (or proof thereof) also can't be found and never has been? Ok.

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 09:09

      @ Ben - that's not how science works. And what about all the other theories that were eventually proven? Like that the earth is round? Tell me... are you enjoying your laptop to type your comment? Newsflash: god didn't build that.

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 09:09

      @ Ben - that's not how science works. And what about all the other theories that were eventually proven? Like that the earth is round? Tell me... are you enjoying your laptop to type your comment? Newsflash: god didn't build that.

      Dakey - 2012-04-19 09:18

      @phillip.crossley "not like the religious faithful who take the word of some person who wrote fiction 2000 years ago. " It's okay not to know anything about the Bible. It's ignorant to pretend you do and then make such daft claims as you made above. Dark Matter has been in question many years. This is nothing new. An open letter to the New Scientist from 2004 http://www.cosmologystatement.org/ http://www.space.com/13775-dark-matter-results-cast-doubt.html

      Dakey - 2012-04-19 09:18

      @phillip.crossley "not like the religious faithful who take the word of some person who wrote fiction 2000 years ago. " It's okay not to know anything about the Bible. It's ignorant to pretend you do and then make such daft claims as you made above. Dark Matter has been in question many years. This is nothing new. An open letter to the New Scientist from 2004 http://www.cosmologystatement.org/ http://www.space.com/13775-dark-matter-results-cast-doubt.html

      Dakey - 2012-04-19 09:41

      @Kosta: "go back to the dark ages when the church ruled and the world was flat. " Goodness Kosta educate yourself before making such stupid claims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth In fact it took the Catholic Cleric (Nicolaus Copernicus) to revive heliocentrism, the belief started in the 3rd century by Aristarchus of Samos that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around.

      Dakey - 2012-04-19 09:41

      @Kosta: "go back to the dark ages when the church ruled and the world was flat. " Goodness Kosta educate yourself before making such stupid claims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth In fact it took the Catholic Cleric (Nicolaus Copernicus) to revive heliocentrism, the belief started in the 3rd century by Aristarchus of Samos that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around.

      Kosta - 2012-04-19 09:52

      @ Dakeyras. Fact, the church persecuted Galileo and many others because knowledge is power and that's the last thing the church wants. Intelligent people = no business for the churches. This is why religion thrives in 3rd world countries where education is low and people are naive.

      Kosta - 2012-04-19 09:52

      @ Dakeyras. Fact, the church persecuted Galileo and many others because knowledge is power and that's the last thing the church wants. Intelligent people = no business for the churches. This is why religion thrives in 3rd world countries where education is low and people are naive.

      E=MC2 - 2012-04-19 10:05

      So all the naysayers would rather follow people who get, & i quote: "baffled when they failed to spot something invisible."? *facepalm*

      E=MC2 - 2012-04-19 10:05

      So all the naysayers would rather follow people who get, & i quote: "baffled when they failed to spot something invisible."? *facepalm*

      E=MC2 - 2012-04-19 10:07

      Kosta - where in the Bible does it say that the earth was flat?... wasnt it the scientists of that day (the same scientists who now cant find something thats invisible) that guessed that?

      E=MC2 - 2012-04-19 10:07

      Kosta - where in the Bible does it say that the earth was flat?... wasnt it the scientists of that day (the same scientists who now cant find something thats invisible) that guessed that?

      Styvies.za - 2012-04-19 10:13

      e=mc: There were no scientists in the bible.

      Styvies.za - 2012-04-19 10:13

      e=mc: There were no scientists in the bible.

      Aaron - 2012-04-19 10:32

      Faith = arrogance. Arrogance that we think we know the answers and do not have the humility to be honest and say that, actually, we don't. Faith is intellectual laziness, taking the easy way out, making something up to answer that which we do not understand instead of applying thought and analysis to it. Faith is a comfort blanket the weak use to avoid their fear of the unknown.

      Aaron - 2012-04-19 10:32

      Faith = arrogance. Arrogance that we think we know the answers and do not have the humility to be honest and say that, actually, we don't. Faith is intellectual laziness, taking the easy way out, making something up to answer that which we do not understand instead of applying thought and analysis to it. Faith is a comfort blanket the weak use to avoid their fear of the unknown.

      Ben - 2012-04-19 10:44

      J-man I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say...that or it was due to my use of punctuation. What I was trying to say was that science will hit bumps in the road but that's how it goes. Then scientists try again till they find something. Trail and error... While other folk don't even bother with proof.

      Ben - 2012-04-19 10:44

      J-man I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say...that or it was due to my use of punctuation. What I was trying to say was that science will hit bumps in the road but that's how it goes. Then scientists try again till they find something. Trail and error... While other folk don't even bother with proof.

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 12:20

      OK Ben, in that case, I agree and apologize for my rant. Peace

      J-Man - 2012-04-19 12:20

      OK Ben, in that case, I agree and apologize for my rant. Peace

      Zing - 2012-04-19 12:25

      So, SaintBruce; If there's no dark matter detected around our sun, does it mean your god deserted us?

      Zing - 2012-04-19 12:25

      So, SaintBruce; If there's no dark matter detected around our sun, does it mean your god deserted us?

      Andrew - 2012-04-19 13:04

      imagine that - scientists admitting a mystery and contradiction of their expectations ! Now of course if we left this to the religionists, they would have had to burn these guys at the stake and cover the whole thing up. Or they could just disregard the results and have 'faith' in the original hypothesis.

      Andrew - 2012-04-19 13:04

      imagine that - scientists admitting a mystery and contradiction of their expectations ! Now of course if we left this to the religionists, they would have had to burn these guys at the stake and cover the whole thing up. Or they could just disregard the results and have 'faith' in the original hypothesis.

  • Mark - 2012-04-19 09:09

    Well, if it were not for these "Anti-God scientists" then the lunatic religious fringe would not be here on the internet sprouting their ridiculous dogma. Maybe God looks down on religious fanatics, smiles and says to himself "Why don't these sheep of mine realise I gave them enquiring minds for a reason and that they can find me in science too."

      Chrono - 2012-04-19 09:22

      I agree with you Mark. Science unearths more and more evidence about the existence of God, or as some would put it, an intelligent design.

      Chrono - 2012-04-19 09:22

      I agree with you Mark. Science unearths more and more evidence about the existence of God, or as some would put it, an intelligent design.

  • Paul - 2012-04-19 10:40

    Or perhaps our models simply aren't good enough yet. I am not a specialist in this area, but I recall that not too long ago astronomers were convinced that a hidden planet "Vulcan" had to exist somewhere between the sun and Mercury to account for the 'abnormalities' in Mercury's orbit. The physics of the time could simply not explain why Mercury's orbit was the way it was. Then Einstein came along with his theory of relativity and the 'need' for Vulcan disappeared. Einstein's theory explained perfectly why Mercury behaved the way it did. In the same way, it seems astronomers today look to dark matter to explain why the universe behaves the way it does rather than assuming that their models are insufficient. However, I remember hearing a presentation by an Australian astronomer - John Harnett I think - who proposed a new model in which dark matter was no longer necessary. It may be worth checking out. But it seems as Galileo himself found out, whenever something new is suggested the scientific community of the day tends to resist it. Apparently Harnett has met with similar resistance.

      Paul - 2012-04-19 11:03

      Hmmm, it wasn't Harnett, but an Israeli cosmologist/physicist Moshe Carmeli who has proposed a new theory: "His 5D space-time-velocity metric explains both galactic rotation curves and the flatness of the universe—without dark matter or other fudge factors"

      Paul - 2012-04-19 11:03

      Hmmm, it wasn't Harnett, but an Israeli cosmologist/physicist Moshe Carmeli who has proposed a new theory: "His 5D space-time-velocity metric explains both galactic rotation curves and the flatness of the universe—without dark matter or other fudge factors"

  • Peter - 2012-04-19 17:00

    "they were baffled when they failed to spot something invisible." seriously? you can't see something invisible??!!! comon! Of course you not going to see something invisible, that's why it's invisible!!

      chris.grobbelaar1 - 2012-05-15 13:56

      Because something is invisible does not mean it does not exist. Tell me Peter do you have a brain? Have you ever seen it. No? Does that mean you don't have a brain? What about Nutrino's? you cannot see it, but it does exist....Think about it!

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-04-19 17:42

    So true Kosta. The catholic church thrives on the uninformed poor people of the world.

  • zadoc.paet - 2012-04-19 17:55

    It looks like something more than dark matter is needed to explain the gravatational forces in the universe other than dark matter. Perhaps looking at matter in the first place is the wrong way to go. POLL: Does dark matter exist? Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/9310296

  • SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-04-20 07:17

    when did it become 83%? I thought it was 73%.

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