In their studies, two teams of scientists used the cosmological Lambda-Cold Dark Matter model, which stipulates that dark matter and dark energy comprise more than 95 percent of the universe, while the remaining 4.6 percent include the ordinary (Baryonic) matter consisting of protons, neutrons and electrons. Dark matter, as opposed to normal matter, is still a cosmic mystery, but at least we've solved the question of where all of this previously-theoretical normal matter is coming from. This mismatch is known as the "missing baryon problem". The particles have been studied by two different teams, and were situated at different distances from Earth. These particles serve a rather poetic role in the universe as they form a vast web, linking galaxies together through filaments of hot gas.
The scientists analyzed data obtained by the orbiting observatory Planck, created to study the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which remained after the Universe became transparent to thermal radiation. As the light travels, some of it scatters off the electrons in the gas, leaving a dim patch in the cosmic microwave background - our snapshot of the remnants from the birth of the cosmos. This phenomenon allowed the researchers to see strands of matter that are normally far too dim to observe.
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Using data from the Planck satellite, the teams were able to combine galaxy data in bulk and compare them to see the tiny differences that might highlight these filaments.
One team, led by researchers from the University of British Columbia, found out that density of these filaments is just under three times the average density of baryons in the surrounding void.
The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. He said the studies go "a long way" in showing that many of our fundamental ideas about space appear to be right.
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"Everybody sort of knows that it has to be there, but this is the first time that somebody - two different groups, no less - has come up with a definitive detection", says Ralph Kraft at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in MA.
Tanimura's paper has been submitted for publication in the Monthly Notices for the Royal Astronomical Society, while de Graaff's has been submitted to the Nature journal.
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