Cosmos is a complicated subject with a multitude of fascinating objects ranging from carbonaceous dust grains to quasars, but that don’t stop the cosmologists’ curiosity to stop thinking and researching about the most abysmal concepts of the Universe. We all live in a universe subjugated by unseen matters such as baryons, CMB photons, Cold Dark Matter (CDM), Dark Energy and all these species of the universe are concentrated into filaments that expanse around the brink of colossal voids.
Thought to be almost void until now, a group of scientists have come to conclusions that dark holes could contain as much as 20% of the ‘normal’ matter in the cosmos and that galaxies make up only 1/500th of the volume of the universe. Observing the cosmic microwave radiation and analyzing it, modern satellite observatories like COBE, WMAP and Planck have advanced our understanding of the universe’s composition. Current measurements suggest that ‘normal’ matter (i.e. the matter that makes up stars, planets, baryons, gas and dust) combine almost 4.9% of the total universe, whereas mysterious and unseen ‘dark’ matter join 26.8% and mysterious ‘dark energy’ constitute 68.3% of the universe.
Some fundamental research work mapped the positions of galaxies and their allied dark matter over large volumes, showing that they are in strings that make up a ‘cosmic web’. The scientific team explored it further, using data from the Illustris project, which is a large computer simulation of the evolution and formation of galaxies, used to measure the mass and volume of these strings and the galaxies within them.
Illustris simulates a cube of space in the universe, computing some 350 million light years on each side. It took the first variable as the age of a young universe, just 12 million years old, and the second variable was a small fraction of its current age. The data’s were simulated and the gravity and flow of matter changing the structure of the cosmos up to the present day were analysed. The simulation compacts with both normal and dark matter, with the most important effect being the gravitational pull of the dark matter.
After analyzing the data, the scientists concluded that 50% of the total mass of the universe is in the places where galaxies exist in, trampled into a volume of 0.2% of the universe we see, and a further 44% is in the enveloping strings. Just 6% is in the voids, which make up 80% of the volume.
The most surprising thing that caught scientists’ attention were the 20% fraction of ‘normal’ matter filling up the voids. Super-massive black holes found at the center of galaxies are the reason behind this. Matters fall into the holes, thus getting converted into energy. The energy is then delivered into the surrounding gases and leads to enormous outflows of matter, expanding for hundreds of thousands of light years from the black holes, reaching far beyond the size of their host galaxies.
The result will not only help us to know about how voids with more ‘normal’ matter are filled than expected but might also explain the missing baryon problem, where astronomers do not see the amount of normal matter predicted by their models.
Further simulations using Illustris have been done, and the results are expected to come within few months, which will give us an auxiliary understanding of black holes and confirm the output. Whatever the outcome, it will be hard to see the matter in the voids, as this is likely to be fragile and too casual to emanate the X-rays that would make it detectable by satellites.