We've been taught that all matter is composed of tiny building blocks called atoms. Now imagine if this wasn't true. This is the research astronomers are pursuing as they try to figure out what "dark matter" is.
Theoretical physicist Howard Baer says, "Recent scientific breakthroughs have shown that most of the matter in the universe?about four-fifths?is not made up of atoms, but of something else, called 'dark matter.' The evidence for dark matter is now overwhelming, and the...amount of dark matter is becoming precisely known."
Dark matter is believed to exist in the form of tiny particles that do not interact with light, which is why they haven't been directly observed, despite making up most of the universe. However, scientists have long known that they must exist because of the way they affect gravity throughout the universe.
Baer says, "For example, the gravitational effect of dark matter makes galaxies spin faster than one would otherwise expect. Also, dark matter's gravitational field distorts the light of objects behind it?By measuring these sorts of phenomena, we can tell that the universe is full of some sort of 'stuff' that we just can't see."
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