Dark matter accounts for approximately 85 percent of all the matter in our seemingly infinite universe. Everything else, including the stars and ourselves, only adds up to about five percent of what we can directly observe. Dark matter is incredibly peculiar in this regard because it cannot be seen or interacted with in any way we currently know of. Scientists can, however, observe the effects dark matter has on the universe, allowing space agencies like NASA to find dense pockets of the mystery substance in space.
NASA said: “Our Hubble Space Telescope observations are helping unravel the dark matter mystery.”
Just like a black hole is “black” because it cannot be seen, dark matter is “dark” because it does not interact with or emit electromagnetic radiation such as light.
But the mystery substance does interact with the universe through gravity and dark matter is the reason why galaxies appear heavier than the total of their observable mass.
Rotating galaxies, in particular, tend to spin faster than they should if they are packed full of dark matter.
This incredible revelation, proposed in the 1930s, allows observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope to hunt for dark matter today.
Because dark matter acts as an invisible source of mass, the substance can warp the space-time around it through gravity.
The Hubble telescope can look for these hotspots of mass through an incredible effect dubbed gravitational lensing.
NASA said: “Gravity pulls on everything that has mass and wars space-time, the underlying fabric of the universe.
“Things like llamas and doughnuts and even paper clips all warp space-time but only a tiny bit since they aren’t very massive.
NASA said: “Thanks to gravitational lensing, scientists have measured the total mass of many galaxy clusters, which revealed that all the matter they can see isn’t enough to create the warping effects they observe.
“There’s more gravitational pull than there is visible stuff to do the pulling — a lot more.”
“Scientists think dark matter accounts for this difference.
“It’s invisible to our eyes and telescopes, but it can’t hide its gravity.”
With the aid of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have been able to determine there is more mass in the universe than what we can see.