NASA Announces Dark Matter Discovery

Physics weblogs are all abuzz over a mysterious press release put by NASA entitled NASA Announces Dark Matter Discovery. The main body of the announcement reads:

Astronomers who used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 21, to announce how dark and normal matter have been forced apart in an extraordinarily energetic collision.

Via Backreaction.

Update. John Baez has been on the case, and he’s deduced the meat of the announcement: a collision of two clusters of galaxies has apparently pulled galaxies and their dark matter halos apart. This provides compelling evidence in favor of the actual existence of dark matter. He has more in the comments, and at his website.

4 thoughts on “NASA Announces Dark Matter Discovery

  1. Since one of the folks at the teleconference is Maxim Markevitch, I bet this is about the Bullet Cluster 1E0657-56 – he used Chandra to study this. These are some colliding galaxies where the gas crashed to a halt and got really hot, while the dark matter kept going straight through! The Chandra observatory shows the X-rays from the hot gas. They can see the dark matter with gravitational lensing – it bends the light from galaxies further back.

    This is not completely new, since Markevitch spoke about it in November last year. Also last year people found signs of galaxies made almost entirely of dark matter.

  2. For more information, including a picture of the Bullet Cluster, see week238 of This Week’s Finds.

    In fact what’s colliding are not galaxies but two whole clusters of galaxies.

  3. So-called Dark Matter is extremal black holes, and therefore they will have some nice pictures.

  4. Pingback: Ars Mathematica » Blog Archive » Dark Matter, apparently not modern-day epicycles after all

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