Scientists Detect Possible Missing 'Piece' Of Universe Created By The Big Bang

Scientists Detect Possible Missing 'Piece' Of Universe Created By The Big Bang

Baryonic matter is the building material for all known objects, including neutron stars and dwarfs.

An global team of researchers has located the last of the universe's missing ordinary matter-a finding that finally answers a long-standing mystery in the field of astrophysics and shines new light on our understanding of the cosmos.

The new study, which will appear June 20 in Nature, was led by Fabrizio Nicastro of the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Last year, astronomers and astrophysicists tracked down the majority of that 5 percent, which was a pretty big coup.

Quasar is a massive galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its center. However, observations of the universe showed only about 70 percent of that matter in present day, leading astrophysicists to the "missing baryon problem". But that still left the census a little more than 30 percent short.

The team said that finding the missing baryons is important to finally put together the puzzles about how the universe began.

Scientists have managed to find the remaining 30 percent of the universe's missing baryons. According to the co-author of the study, Michael Shull (University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences - APS), the lost matter was filaments of oxygen gas at nearly 1 million degrees Celsius.

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Researchers have a good idea of where to find most of the ordinary matter in the universe - not to be confused with dark matter, which scientists have yet to locate: About 10 percent sits in galaxies, and close to 60 percent is in the diffuse clouds of gas that lie between galaxies.

It is reported that he found it in the so-called warm-hot intergalactic medium (Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium, WHIM). "This intergalactic medium contains filaments of gas at temperatures from a few thousand degrees to a few million degrees". In a statement by the university, Shull said the finding also validated the Big Bang theory.

Researchers can collect enormous amounts of information by recording the way in which the radiation from a quasar passes through space, similar to a sailor looking at a lighthouse through fog.

By studying the behavior of the quasar beams as they passed through intergalactic space, scientists got a sense of where these missing baryons might be located.

When scientists extrapolated the density of the gas across the entire universe, they were able to account for the cosmos' missing ordinary matter.

The breakthrough is primarily thanks to the XMM-Newton Space Observatory, an orbiting satellite that's equipped with incredibly sensitive and powerful X-ray sensing equipment. Charles Danforth, a research associate in APS, contributed to those findings and is a co-author of the new study. The gaseous matter must have been blown out of galaxies and quasars over the past billions of years. "There's some sort of ecology going on between the two regions, and the details of that are poorly understood".

Researchers detailed their discovery this week in the journal Nature.

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