While we here at Dark Matter Matters continue to investigate the dark matter of corporations (brand, community, and culture), the physicists at CERN are making great progress in their search for dark matter as well.
Earlier this week, the Large Hadron Collider, a $10 billion underground supercollider under the Swiss-French border, set energy and speed records while colliding two proton beams to create 3x more energy than scientists have every seen before (7 trillion electron volts). The search for dark matter is one of the key drivers of the the Large Hadron Collider experiment.
As I’ve mentioned before, the LHC has had all sorts of problems over the last few years, so it is great to see it is finally working correctly. Better stay on your toes, dark matter!
In other related news, the Hubble Space Telescope, which was responsible for creating the image that appears in the header of this blog, has also been hot on the trail of dark matter and dark energy.
According to an article posted earlier this week on the Popular Science website, Hubble tracked 446,000 galaxies in one part of the galaxy, taking 575 images over the span of 1,000 hours. Astronomers then used the data from these images to pull together the composite image you see here, which uses gravitational lensing to identify places where there may be high concentrations of dark energy in the universe. It also makes for a pretty picture.
That’s the big news for now. We’ll continue to report from time to time on the search for dark matter and dark energy, so stay tuned.
Only about 4% of the total energy density in the universe can be seen directly.
About 96% is thought to be composed of dark matter or dark energy.
July 2009: See my update on the topics covered in this post here.
I’ve been intrigued by the idea of dark matter for a while. But it was actually hearing about this thing called the Large Hadron Collider that helped me make the connection between what I do for a living and this concept of dark matter.
The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest particle accelerator. It was built on the border of France and Switzerland and is about 17 miles long. One of the things that particle physicists hope to prove with this enormous project is that dark matter actually exists. As I understand it, the accelerator shoots protons at super high speeds around the collider, and, if these scientists are lucky, it eventually might produce a few wacky particles that will exist for only a few milliseconds and then disappear again. And these particles might prove that dark matter isn’t just a theory. Continue reading