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Could it be Dark Matter?
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Could it be Dark Matter?

Credit: NASA/CXC/UVic/AMahdavi et al.
Source: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2007/a520/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Four galaxy clusters collided in space 3.5 billion years from Earth. By studying the distortion of light rays from distant galaxies as they pass through the cluster, caused by dark matter, the location of the dark matter has been identified and colored in blue.

Amazing But True!

Credit: NASA
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer_-_02.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer [Figure2]

  • The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on the International Space Station has counted more than 400,000 positrons, which are the antimatter equivalent of electrons.
  • These positrons could be a sign that we have found dark matter.
  • The AMS will operate for the life of the space station at least until 2020. This will give scientists time to determine the source of these particles.

Explore More

With the link below, learn more about dark matter. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the relationship of antimatter to cosmic rays?
  2. Why do scientists think that the vast majority of matter in the universe is dark matter?
  3. What is the AMS detecting that scientists say might be dark matter? Why is this related to dark matter?
  4. What is the other hypothesis for where these particles could have come from?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: NASA/CXC/UVic/AMahdavi et al.; Source: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2007/a520/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: NASA; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alpha_Magnetic_Spectrometer_-_02.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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