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NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter

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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:15 PM
Original message
NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 01:17 PM by DireStrike
Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. The discovery, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, gives direct evidence for the existence of dark matter.

"This is the most energetic cosmic event, besides the Big Bang, which we know about," said team member Maxim Markevitch of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

These observations provide the strongest evidence yet that most of the matter in the universe is dark. Despite considerable evidence for dark matter, some scientists have proposed alternative theories for gravity where it is stronger on intergalactic scales than predicted by Newton and Einstein, removing the need for dark matter. However, such theories cannot explain the observed effects of this collision.

"A universe that's dominated by dark stuff seems preposterous, so we wanted to test whether there were any basic flaws in our thinking," said Doug Clowe of the University of Arizona at Tucson, and leader of the study. "These results are direct proof that dark matter exists."

In galaxy clusters, the normal matter, like the atoms that make up the stars, planets, and everything on Earth, is primarily in the form of hot gas and stars. The mass of the hot gas between the galaxies is far greater than the mass of the stars in all of the galaxies. This normal matter is bound in the cluster by the gravity of an even greater mass of dark matter. Without dark matter, which is invisible and can only be detected through its gravity, the fast-moving galaxies and the hot gas would quickly fly apart.

Continued...
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/aug/HQ_06297_CHAND...

Doesn't really sound like "direct proof", but it's sure pretty strong.
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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Agree. They need to rework the explanation
to show how a layperson can infer dark matter by looking at the pic.
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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. It is "direct"
In that it is a measurement of two objects colliding (galaxies) that are said to be made up mostly of dark matter. Thus, it is a direct measurement of the behaviour in collision, that so far is only explainable via dark, gravitational-only, matter.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. well...
In that sense, the rotation curves of galaxies are also direct evidence for dark matter, and we've known about those for some time.

I don't mean to minimize the importance of this work, but "direct" seems like sort of a weasel word to get more media attention.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. never mind.
I read a little more about this, and I'm now convinced that it is more direct than previous observations.

This was informative: http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/08/21/dark-matter-exists...
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. gee that's nice.
does that get me a job or medical insurance for my kids?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. no, but it helps you and your kids understand the universe you live in...
...better than you did before. Some things are worth doing even if they don't produce tangible personal gain.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. not if you're sick
not if you're homeless


I'm all for knowledge, but we have overwhelming problems closer to home.
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Salviati Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Again...
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 02:32 PM by Salviati
(not "again" to you in particular, it's just that I've made this same post a couple of times in the science forum.)The money spent on basic science reasearch including astronomy is chump change compared to the money poured into the military industrial complex to build shoddy weapons that will go obsolite without being used. We shouldn't be quibbling about pennies when there's fortunes that can be put to better use.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. there are plenty of places money is wasted
and plenty of places it is not being spent
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I'll respectfully disagree....
Even in a world rife with poverty and want-- and notwithstanding the fact that there is apparently no shortage of money to spend on killing people-- science and art are noble and necessary for their own sakes. Perhaps most especially in a world overwhelmed with deprivation and suffering. If the only standard for human success is "quality of life" then what does anyone who hasn't achieved a lifestyle that makes them happy have to live for?
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. People get sick and die all the time.
Finding proof of dark matter is very rare.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. unassailable logic
I'm now convinced.
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Maybe it does.
There have been plenty of advances in earthly technology based on evidence gathered from astronomy.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I don't need new technology
I need insurance and a job.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 02:49 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. It's good that you are rejecting science and technology
those are the work of the devil.
You don't need health insurance and a job, you need to be saved.
In the bible, it says, "the Lord will provide".
Seek first the kingdom of heaven.
The rapture is coming any day - are you ready?
Or will you be Left Behind?
Having health insurance and a job won't help you during The Tribulation.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 03:37 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. screw the devil
screw the bible

screw the rapture

screw the Tribulation

screw the kingdom of Heaven

who is rejecting science?

as for technology, I have plenty of technology

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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. Sure, but are you blaming science for
not having insurance and a job? Did science cause you to not have insurance and a job?
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. I'm sorry people become ill.
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 10:42 PM by Ready4Change
I know it's hard, when living from paycheck to paycheck, or with no paycheck at all, to believe that seemingly esoteric research has value. I just landed a job, after being out of work for over two years. I've been there.

But you can be sure of one thing. The same people who believe in funding astronomical studies are the same who support welfare programs. Our real opponents are those who would cut both astronomy and welfare, in order to fund pointless wars and line corporate pockets.

Pick your battles.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. just to be clear . . . I'm not sick
I can't afford to be sick.

why does dark matter matter?
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Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. If there is no dark matter...
Then some of the most basic assertions of physics would need some reworking. That could mean that everything we are doing that relies on those assertions might be being done wrong. Or rather, might be done better.

However, if this research proves dark matter exists, that means that many of our physics assertions are valid. While that in itself doesn't improve things, it does assure us we aren't barking up the wrong tree, and that other current lines of research are on target for deeper insights. Insights that could improve computing speeds, or make clean fusion a reality, as just a couple of examples.

Science is mostly made up of tiny steps, most of which appear useless. It's only rarely that a big discovery is instantly seen as worthwhile.

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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. "everything we're doing"
you mean like cruise missiles and nukes and stuff?

I'm a fan of science and exploration and truth. But with things as bleak as they are right here on earth, involving basic necessities like shelter, food, health, work, freedom, etc., it is hard to justify pursuing arcane "truth" a zillion miles away. There is a hierarchy of needs.

It's especially difficult to be enthusiastic when faced with the string theory jerk-off, the usurpation of the space program by the Defense Department (and the subsequent series of zillion-dollar disasters). Have we really accomplished anything new in the last 10 or 20 years? Why hasn't science led us to a point where we wouldn't be killing one another over 19th Century energy technology? Seems to me that perhaps "science" should focus on informing the 60% of Americans who do not believe humans evolved from a different species a few scientific basics instead of increasingly arcane navel gazing halfway across the universe.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-24-06 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #17
26. once again, it's not either-or
perhaps "science" should focus on informing the 60% of Americans who do not believe humans evolved from a different species a few scientific basics instead of increasingly arcane navel gazing halfway across the universe.


For one thing, there are scientists and there are science educators. There is -- and should be -- a lot of collaboration between the two groups, but there are enough of both that we can continue to do new science while teaching the public about existing results.

Also, to your list of scientific basics that includes the theory of evolution, I would add the origin of the universe. People are generally misinformed about both. The finding reported above -- evidence for dark matter -- is partial confirmation of the Big Bang theory. So it's directly related to "scientific basics."

As for your assertion that nothing new has been accomplished in the last 10 or 20 years, scientists are continuing to work as hard as we always have, and there are more of us than there have ever been. I'm not going to list everything that's been accomplished in recent years, but since you seem to be interested in energy resources, I would suggest looking into the dramatic improvement in the efficiency of solar cells since 1990. The slowness of governments to adopt alternative energy sources does not imply that scientists have not been doing the work.

I do, completely, agree that the DoD needs to get its nose out of funding basic astronomy. NASA and the NSF are doing fine, and they're run by scientists, not Rumsfeld's goons.
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dollydew Donating Member (127 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #17
27. Amen
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #17
30. "string theory jerk-off"
Jerkoff? :eyes:
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qazplm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. you appear to be able
to afford an internet connection ;)

How can you spend money on that when people are starving, yada yada yada.

do you really need air conditioning? Do you really need a car? Why do people buy playstations and play video games when people are starving?

Good grief man, using your logic we should all be seriously guilty everytime we do anything that isnt directly focused on bettering everything wrong in the world.
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Miss Chybil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. The universe isn't about you,
or me, it's about everything.
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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. Good observation
It's well known that most scientists working in basic research - most notably physicists and biologists - are fairly liberal in their world views. On the other hand, most engineers and engineering managers in the applied technology fields are quite linear-thinking and very conservative.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #3
23. Lots of things don't get you a job or health insurance.
But that doesn't mean they're not worthwhile.
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Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
28. Well i guess it isn't just conservatives that are anti-science....
Sad...
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Oreo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. Insert "it was between Bush's ears" joke here
:)
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