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Not only is 95% of the Universe made up of baffling dark matter and energy, up to 40% of the remaining ordinary matter is missing. This elusive ‘baryonic’ matter is thought to be distributed through the Universe like a cosmic web. Now, observations of X-rays from a quasar, which shine through the web like a lighthouse through fog, seem to offer the first solid evidence of the mysterious matter. Astronomer Taotao Fang explores why the missing baryons have been so difficult to detect.