First dark matter bridge between galaxy clusters discovered

A ‘finger’ of the universe dark-matter skeleton, which ultimately dictates where galaxies form, has been observed for the first time bridging the galaxy clusters  Abell 222 and Abell 223 2.7 billion light-years away by an international team of astrophysicists using a technique that could eventually help astrophysicists to understand the structure of the Universe and identify what makes up the mysterious invisible substance known as dark matter.

Using data from the Subaru telescope  on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the XMM – Newton space telescope, researchers examined 40,341 background galaxies for signs of distortion and calculated that the mass in the filament is between 6.5 × 1013 and 9.8 × 1013 times the mass of the Sun.

They used a model to subtract out the masses of the galaxy clusters and then fit the remaining mass with a model of what a filament might look like. They found that a filament must be present, and that it was actually much longer than it seemed.

“Dark matter really governs structure formation.  “The galaxy clusters and the filaments are mostly made up of dark matter. The normal matter just follows the distribution of dark matter.”

The discovery of these dark-matter filaments, about 58 million light-years from end to end, are predicted to contain more than half of all matter in the Universe.

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