An international team of scientists has created the most detailed and most extensive map of the distribution of Dark Matter in the Universe.
The results are shocking because they show that it is vaguely smoother and more spread out than the current best theories predict.
The observation seems to deviate from Einstein’s theory of general relativity- posing a problem for researchers.
The Dark Energy Survey Collaboration has published the studies.
Dark Matter is a mysterious and invisible substance that pervades space. It accounts for 85% of the Matter in the Universe.
Scientists were able to work out where it was because it distorts light from faraway stars. The greater the distortion, the greater the concentration of Dark Matter in space.
École Normale Supérieure’s Dr Niall Jeffrey, who pieced the map together, said that the data posed a “real problem” for physics.
“If this discrepancy is true, then maybe Einstein was wrong,” he told CNN News. “One might think that this is a bad thing, that physics is flawed. But to a physicist, it is very exciting. It means that we can find out something new about how the Universe works.”
“I have mixed emotions on hearing the news,” said Durham University’s Prof Carlos Frenk, who was one of the physicists who built on Albert Einstein’s theories and others to develop the current cosmological theory.
“I spent almost all of my life working on this theory, and my heart tells me I don’t want to see it crumble. However, my brain tells me that the data was correct, and we have to look at the prospect of new physics,” said Prof Frenk.
With the help of the Victor M Blanco telescope in Chile, the scientists analysed 100 million galaxies.
The map illustrates how dark Matter sprawls across the Universe. The black regions are vast areas of nothingness, called voids, where the laws of physics might not work. The bright regions are where the Dark Matter is accumulated.