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May 26 2013

New light cast on dark matter…

Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, perhaps the most pressing problem in particle physics is to determine the nature of dark matter. The current evidence for dark matter is indirect but very convincing: several different astronomical observations indicate that the universe is pervaded by some unknown stuff that does not emit detectable amounts of light. The range of observations include the patterns made by galaxies in the night sky, the motions of stars within a galaxy and images of distant galaxies distorted by the intervening matter, just as everyday objects look distorted when they are viewed through rippled glass. All of these different measurements can be explained by invoking the gravitational effects of dark matter.

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