February 23, 2018
Latest News
Science & Technology

World's 1st Dark Matter Day meets Halloween: Don´t be afraid of the Dark

Madrid, Oct 31, (efe-epa).- On Halloween's eve, the world celebrates its first "Dark Matter Day", which is not a scary story but the commemoration of a decades-long hunt to cast light on an astrophysical enigma called dark matter.

Under the suitable slogan of "Don´t be Afraid of the Dark" the event has the backing of scientific institutions such as CERN _ the European Organization for Nuclear Reasearch _ and the United Kingdom's Royal Astronomical Society, to mention just two.

It is difficult to imagine, gazing at the untold millions of stars, planets, asteroids, and comets dotting the sky at night, that we can only see 4.9 percent of our Universe.

Today's festive astrophysical initiative launched by the Interactions Collaboration Group seeks to raise public awareness on this great cosmic mystery by stating that "dark matter is the glue that holds galaxies together, but we don’t know what it is."

Scientists believe that dark matter, currently only detectable by its gravity-based effects in space, accounts for over a quarter (26.8 percent) of the Universe's total mass and energy.

Astrophysicists have another mysterious component to deal with called dark energy, possibly the driving force behind the universe’s accelerating expansion, which could account for another 68.3 percent of the cosmos.

It is important not to confuse these two "Dark" concepts.

We know that dark matter exists because of the way it interacts with the Cosmos and has been known since the 1930s, thanks to astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky, who concluded that in order for galaxy clusters to behave the way they do, they needed a lot more mass than what was actually visible, therefore an unseen "dark" matter made a lot of sense.

Zwicki's work was rescued in the 1970s thanks to the research and findings made by United States astronomer Vera Rubin.

Spanish physicist Sonia Fernández Vidal spoke with EFE to explain that Dark Matter could also be visible common matter, only shaped in an unknown or undetectable way.

It could be an exotic, non-conventional type of matter that neither emits or absorbs light, she said.

While galaxies tend to concentrate most of their visible mass in their centers, many of them have a black hole inside.

Stars rotate around the Galactic center as if on a roundabout and are able to remain in place and not spin-off into space thanks to the force of gravity tethering them in an amazing dance of celestial mechanics.

However, the combined gravitational weight of the stars in a Galaxy is not enough to keep from spinning away into space, so another force must be slowing them down and keeping them locked in place.

Fernandez described the role of dark matter's gravitational force as a "spider web made up of an invisible filament" adding that, "dark matter is what enables galaxies to exist."

Furthermore, these same long strands of filaments apparently connect Galaxies to each other.

They are known as baryons that connect particles together giving them the appearance of a cosmic-sized web.

Most dark matter hunters are deployed in underground detection facilities on Earth, buried deep to avoid external influences, and tasked with detecting Neutrinos, cosmic particles that interact with the weak subatomic force and gravity.

One such location is the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica, although there are other facilities buried under large mountains, like Gran Sasso (Italy) or Canfranc (Spain).

According to Fernandez, dark matter is one of the "biggest challenges of particle physics" and understanding its true nature could help explain the origins, evolution, and overall structure of our universe.

Events to celebrate Dark Matter Day are due to be held in countries such as Canada, United States, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria, Germany and Sweden.

News history
Mexican finds way to reprogram neurons affected by Alzheimer's

Mexico City, Feb 22 (epa-efe).- Neurobiologist Luis Carrillo developed a technique to re-program neuron groups affected by degenerative brain diseases such...

Spain's PAZ satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Feb 22 (efe-epa).- Spain's earth-observation PAZ satellite was launched Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from...

Studying the Big Bang and black holes at Mexico's Large Millimeter Telescope

Atzitzintla, Mexico, Feb 22 (efe-epa).- Researching the origin of the Universe and black holes are two major missions in 2018 for Mexico's Large Millimeter...

Launch of SpaceX rocket carrying Spanish PAZ satellite delayed

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- Wednesday's scheduled launch here of the Spanish earth-observation satellite PAZ atop a SpaceX...

ISS-bound trio take final exams in Moscow ahead of launch

Star City, Russia, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- A three-man crew that would soon be headed to the International Space Station was undergoing its final preparations...

Australia research team catches rare deep-sea fish

Sydney, Australia, Feb 21 (efe-epa).- An Australian research team caught thousands of rare fish from the deep ocean, some of them faceless while others are...

World's only non-Chinese-owned giant pandas reach advanced age in Mexico City

Mexico City, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- It's 10 am and Xin Xin, now 27 years old and 102 kilograms (225 pounds), walks slowly down a corridor to begin her daily...

Argentina must prepare youth for 21st-century jobs, Macri says

Buenos Aires, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri emphasized on Wednesday the need to prepare Argentina's young people for 21st- century jobs that...

Preserved human bodies to go on display at exhibition in Hungary

Budapest (Hungary), Feb 14 (efe-epa).- Visitors to the Hungarian capital Budapest will soon have the chance to see over 200 dissected human bodies, organs...

Uruguay's capital digs into its colonial past

Montevideo, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- The recent discovery of vestiges of early Montevideo's colonial-era defense system has provided an opportunity to enhance and...

Russian Progress MS-08 cargo ship takes off from Kazakhstan for ISS

Moscow, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- A Russian Progress MS-08 cargo ship took off Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to resupply the International...

Young Mexicans create app to translate text, voice into sign language

Guadalajara, Mexico, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Young Mexicans from the western state of Jalisco developed a program to translate text and voice into the Mexican...

Argentine institution marks 60 years of successful scientific research

Buenos Aires, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Successful studies in the fields of transgenics and progress in the fight against cancer are some of the achievements of...

Russian rocket due to resupply space station aborts launch with seconds to go

Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), Feb. 11 (efe-epa).- A spacecraft that was to due to resupply the International Space Station had its launch aborted with...

Chile observatory gains new tool in search for extraterrestrials

Santiago, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- Chile's Paranal Observatory is preparing for the debut of Espresso, a cutting-edge spectrograph that will aid in detection of...

At least 2,210 adult white sharks live off Australian coast

Sydney, Australia, Feb 9 (efe-epa) .- About 2,210 adult white sharks currently live off Australia's coast with an adult survival rate estimated at 90...

Miami scientists patent new cocaine test

Miami, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- Florida International University (FIU) scientists have patented a new test that detects the presence of cocaine in another...

European Space Agency to launch new mission to Int'l Space Station

Paris, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- The European Space Agency announced Wednesday that in 2019 it will launch a new mission to the International Space Station geared...

Falcon Heavy, world's largest rocket, lifts off on 1st flight

Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The gigantic Falcon Heavy rocket, designed and manufactured by the private SpaceX company, on Tuesday lifted off...

Defense structures discovered in old colonial plaza of Montevideo

Montevideo, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- A battery of cannons that formed part of Montevideo's defenses in the 18th century, and the remains of 19th century houses...

Ozone recovering at poles, but declining over populated areas: ACP study

Geneva, Switzderland, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- The ozone layer has recovered at the poles, but the lower stratospheric ozone over the most populated latitudes has...

SpaceX to test Falcon Heavy, world's most powerful rocket

Miami, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- The gigantic Falcon Heavy rocket, with which the private company SpaceX plans to undertake future manned missions to Mars, will...

China's Tencent test runs smart store in Shanghai mall

Shanghai, China, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- Shoppers at a Shanghai Mall on Saturday got to experience tech giant Tencent's first unmanned offline store.

Japan launches micro-satellite rocket

Tokyo, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Saturday the world's smallest rocket with the ability to put a...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.