Dark Matter: a Basic Understanding

Topics: Dark matter, Galaxy, Milky Way Pages: 3 (959 words) Published: December 1, 2012
Dark Matter: A Basic Understanding

Many people, from the inquisitive, to those involved in the astronomical sciences have questioned the existence of Dark Matter. While it is called many things today, I will continue to refer to this unseen substance by its original name, Dark Matter. As it is still a theory being researched today to validate its existence and make-up, the discovery of dark matter was first presented to the world some time ago by two very intelligent astronomers. In coming to understand this matter, some of the most common questions we find ourselves asking are: What is it? And, How was it discovered? The most difficult question we all seem to face is “Does it really exist?” While quite tricky, this question is one that each of us have to conclude an answer to on our own. Therefore to start, I will address the more common questions first, and then I will provide my own answer to the question of its existence.

Dark Matter: What is it?
When first being introduced to Dark Matter, the first question we find ourselves asking is what is it? In and out of the scientific community dark matter is commonly referred to as “the source of extra gravity,” or the “mysterious form of matter that is unseen.” A more refined scientific definition for dark matter is “a nonluminous, undetectable, invisible material in the universe that makes up about 70%-80% of its mass.” In short, dark matter is an unseen form of material that contains its own gravity which affects its surrounding materials; i.e. gases, stellar, and celestial bodies. With truly dedicated astronomers and cosmologists focused on the structure and composition of the cosmos, this brings me to explaining how this invisible matter called “dark matter” was discovered.

Dark Matter: How Was It Discovered?
In 1932 and 1933, astronomers Jan Hendrick Oort and Fritz Zwicky were the first to postulate the idea of the existence of dark matter. In studying the stellar motions of stars...

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