Hot gas in this collision of galaxy clusters is seen as two pink clumps that contain most of the normal matter. The bullet-shaped clump on the right is hot gas from one cluster, which passed through the hot gas from the other larger cluster. Other telescopes were used to detect the bulk of the matter in the clusters, which turns out to be dark matter (highlighted in blue).
A ghostly ring of dark matter floating in the galaxy cluster ZwCl0024+1652, one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date for the existence of dark matter. Astronomers think the dark-matter ring was produced from a collision between two gigantic clusters.
The illustration shows the distribution of dark matter, massive halos, and luminous quasars in a simulation of the early universe, shown 1.6 billion years after the Big Bang. Gray-colored filamentary structure shows the distribution of dark matter; small white circles mark concentrated "halos" of dark matter more massive than 3 trillion times the mass of the sun; larger, blue circles mark the most massive halos, more than 7 trillion times of the sun, which host the most luminous quasars. The strong clustering of the quasars in the SDSS sample demonstrates that they reside in these rare, very massive halos. The box shown is 360 million light years across.
Galaxy NGC5291 (orange, at the center) and its ring of debris (in blue) as seen by the Very Large Array interferometer. Researchers have found evidence for the presence of dark matter in dense star-forming groups (shown in red), where 'recycled' dwarf galaxies exist.
The universe, 590 million years after the Big Bang, may have looked like this, according to computer simulations, with some stretches of dark matter (green) and galaxies with varying luminosity of star formation (yellow is brightest).
This ellipse shows a region of sky where a galaxy made of dark matter is thought to exist.
The supposed distribution of dark matter throughout the universe is represented in this computer model.
This Hubble Space Telescope map shows the four clumps of dark matter in the supercluster Abell 901/902.
The universe’s normal and invisible dark matter is revealed in this portrait assembled from space telescope observations. Normal matter appears in red, its distribution observed primarily by the European Space Agency’s XMM/Newton telescope. The blue regions distinguish areas of invisible and elusive dark matter as recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope. The gray areas denote stars and galaxies, the visible light of which was also observed by Hubble.
A computer simulation shows dark matter is distributed in a clumpy but organized manner. In the figure, high density regions appear bright whereas dark regions are nearly, but not completely, empty.
Another powerful collision of galaxy clusters has been captured with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope. Like its famous cousin, the so-called Bullet Cluster, this clash of clusters shows a clear separation between dark and ordinary matter. This helps answer a crucial question about whether dark matter interacts with itself in ways other than via gravitational forces.
These four dwarf galaxies are part of a census of small galaxies in the tumultuous heart of the nearby Perseus galaxy cluster. The images, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, are evidence that the undisturbed galaxies are enshrouded by a "cushion" of dark matter, which protects them from their rough-and-tumble neighborhood.
Researchers created a 3D map of dark matter in a large portion of the universe by combining gravitational lensing data from more than half a million galaxies scattered across a range of distances from Earth. The three axes of the box (bottom) correspond to sky position, and distance from Earth, increasing from left to right.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the distribution of dark matter in the center of the giant galaxy cluster Abell 1689, containing about 1,000 galaxies and trillions of stars.
The distribution of dark matter when the universe was about 3 billion years old, obtained from a numerical simulation of galaxy formation. The left panel displays the continuous distribution of dark matter particles, while the right panel highlights the dark matter halos for the formation of star-bursting galaxies with a minimum dark matter halo mass of 300 billion times that of the sun.
This is a view of the universe from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Physicists at Brown University studied seven dwarf galaxies (circled in white). Their observations indicate those galaxies are full of dark matter because their stars’ motion cannot be explained by their mass alone, making them ideal places to search for dark matter annihilation signals.
Dark matter in the universe is thought to be distributed as a network of gigantic dense (light) and empty (dark) regions, where the largest dense regions are about the size of several Earth moons on the sky.
This false-color image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, compares the distribution of normal matter (red, left) to that of dark matter (right, blue). Dark matter makes up most of the matter of the universe, but can be viewed only by its gravitational effects. The HST’s ability to capture the warping of space helped scientists to measure the distribution of dark matter. Astronomers think dark matter could have powered the first stars.
This artist's conception shows what an invisible "dark star" might look like when viewed in infrared light that it emits as heat. The core is enveloped by clouds of hydrogen and helium gas. A new University of Utah study suggests the first stars in the universe did not shine, but may have been dark stars.