A dark discovery has just been made involving two mysterious galaxies, and it suggests the cosmos harbors an amazing secret.
An incredible new composite image captured by researchers in Canada has led scientists to a staggering conclusion about the galaxies that are scattered throughout the cosmos. The image, seen above, suggests that galaxies are connected by a web of dark matter.
It is tough to examine dark matter because it is invisible to us except through its effects on gravity, but researchers at the University of Waterloo were able to trace weak gravitational lensing to create the composite image, and it appears to show how connected these seemingly separate galaxies are by dark matter.
Astronomers usually use gravitational lensing events to study light from distant galaxies, but gravity from smaller objects can also bend light and indicate the existence of dark matter. Scientists had to survey 23,000 galaxy pairs with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope before they were able to put together the composite image above.
“For decades, researchers have been predicting the existence of dark-matter filaments between galaxies that act like a web-like superstructure connecting galaxies together,” said Mike Hudson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Waterloo. “This image moves us beyond predictions to something we can see and measure.”
“By using this technique, we’re not only to able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,” said co-author Seth Epps.