Researchers from the United States have performed a detailed simulation of the dark matter model and showed what it might look like. This model is one of the largest and most detailed in the history of dark matter research.
The researchers noted that dark matter makes up 85% of all matter in the universe, but does not interact with light. It can only be seen through the gravitational effect it has on light and other matters. Experiments on the direct detection of dark matter have not yet been crowned with success.
Despite the elusiveness of dark matter, scientists were able to figure out that it is not only dark but also cold – so it gathers together to form the seeds of galactic clusters. It also often forms halos around galaxies, making up most of its mass. However, many questions about dark matter remain unanswered, so astronomers are developing new models of dark matter.
One way to study matter is through sophisticated computer simulations. Teams at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics performed detailed simulations of dark matter in space.
In this case, the team speculated that dark matter is composed of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) with a mass roughly 100 times the mass of a proton. Similar computer simulations of dark matter have been carried out before. However, this model was exceptionally high in resolution, simulating features at a scale of over thirty orders of magnitude.
In this simulation, dark matter formed in halos around galaxies, just like in real life. It had a similar structure – it was dense towards its center, becoming more diffuse at the edges.
Although small-scale halos are too small to be detected by their gravitational effect on light, they can tell us about how dark matter interacts with itself. The scientists added that dark matter remains one of the biggest unsolved problems in modern astronomy. Until we discover it directly, the properties of matter can only be studied through simulations.