A map of a dark object shows “hidden bridges” between galaxies

Eine Karte der dunklen Materie zeigt "versteckte Brücken" zwischen Galaxien

The new map of the dark matter in the universe reveals more light in many previously unknown fiber structures connecting galaxies to each other.

Created by an international team of astronomers from the state of Penn using machine learning, this map can enable studies of the nature of dark matter, history, and the future of our universe.

What a dark thing

The dark matter is the elusive substance that makes up 80% of the universe. It contains the “skeleton” used by cosmologists Cosmic network, The large-scale structure of the universe, with its gravitational force, determines the motion of galaxies and other cosmic objects.

However, the distribution of dark matter is currently unknown. We still do not know how to measure it directly.

Researchers are reducing its distribution due to its gravitational influence on other objects in the universe. Constellations.

Very close so far

Paradoxically, the distribution of dark matter is easy to read further, “because it reflects a very distant past, which is very complex,” he says. Donggui Jeong, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astronomy at Penn State and Professor of Research.


“Over time, the complexity of the universe has increased as the large-scale structure of the universe has grown, making it naturally inherently difficult to measure dark matter domestically.”

Previous attempts to map the cosmic web began with a model of the early universe. More than a billion years of growth have been simulated from this model. Computationally radical method, which has not yet provided detailed results.

Chase of galaxies

In the new study, the researchers took a completely different approach. Using machine learning, they developed a model that uses information about the distribution and motion of galaxies to predict the distribution of dark matter.

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The researchers developed and trained their model using a variety of galaxy simulations Illustrious-DNG, Which includes galaxies, gas, other visible matter, and dark matter. The team selected simulated galaxies specifically comparable to the Milky Way and finally identified the properties of galaxies to predict the diffusion of dark matter.

Simulated experience

“If some information is provided, the model can fill in the gaps based on its previous observation,” says Jeong.

“The map of our models does not exactly match the simulation data, but we can reconstruct more detailed structures, including the motion of the galaxies and their distribution, which have dramatically improved the quality of the map and allowed us to see more details.

The resulting map of the local cosmic network is published in an article Appeared online on May 26 in the journal Astrophysics.

How the new galaxy map is created

These density maps, each with different sizes of cross-sections, reproduce the well-known and distinctive features of the universe (red), and also show small thread-like features (yellow) that act as hidden bridges between galaxies.

“Having a local map of the cosmic web opens a new chapter in cosmology,” Jeong said. “We can study how the distribution of dark matter is related to other emission data, which will help us to understand the nature of dark matter. We can directly study these fiber structures and the hidden bridges between galaxies.”

For example, the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy are said to be slowly moving towards each other, but it is not clear whether they will collide in billions of years. Studying the strands of the dark matter that connects the two galaxies will provide important insights into their future.

“Because the dark matter dominates the dynamics of the universe, it basically determines our destiny,” Jeong said. “So you can ask a computer to create a map for billions of years to see what happens in the local universe. Let’s recreate the model to understand the history of our universe.

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The researchers hope to improve the accuracy of their map by adding more galaxies.

Planned astronomical observations, for example by the James Web Space Telescope, will further expand our galaxies.

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