Friday, May 02, 2014

The cosmic web unveiled: observing ‘dim matter’ in 3D

May 1, 2014
cosmic_web
Comparison of Lyman alpha blob observed with Cosmic Web Imager and a simulation of the cosmic web based on theoretical predictions (credit: Christopher Martin, Robert Hurt)
Caltech astronomers have taken unprecedented 3D images of the intergalactic medium (IGM) — the diffuse gas that connects galaxies throughout the universe, proving that the speculated “dim matter” of the universe exists.
Theoreticians have predicted since the 1980s that primordial gas from the Big Bang is not spread uniformly throughout space, but is instead distributed in channels that span galaxies and flow between them. This “cosmic web” — the IGM — is a network of smaller and larger filaments crisscrossing one another across the vastness of space and back through time to an era when galaxies were first forming and stars were being produced at a rapid rate./.../

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