The Dark Universe

Simulation of galaxy evolution in a universe dominated by Dark Matter Zoom Image
Simulation of galaxy evolution in a universe dominated by Dark Matter

The standard explanation for the way large-scale structure evolved in the cosmos, the radiation left over from the big bang, the way that matter rotates in disk galaxies, and characteristic optical phenomena known as gravitational lensing all point into the same direction: there appears to be an unusual form of matter, called Dark Matter.

Dark Matter does not emit or absorb light. It only interacts with other matter by its gravity. As of yet, no elementary particle corresponding to Dark Matter has been found.

MPIA researchers examine how Dark Matter has shaped the evolution of the present universe and in particular the formation and evolution of galaxies.

Part of the cosmic web of gas, illuminated by an active galaxy Zoom Image
Part of the cosmic web of gas, illuminated by an active galaxy

They also attempt to trace the elusive cosmic gas flowing along the large-scale Dark Matter filaments - gas that is thought to play a key role in supplying galaxies with the raw material for star formation.

As if Dark Matter wasn't unusual enough, cosmologists find that the universe appears to be filled with what they term Dark Energy - an ill-understood form of energy that accounts for more than 2/3 of all energy in the universe, and causes the universe to expand in an accelerated way. With the EUCLID space mission, in which MPIA plays a part, we aim to find out more about the properties of this weird main ingredient of our cosmos.

 
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