Dark matter comes to light

20.07.23: IT'S OFFICIAL: dark matter does not exist.

The identity of the invisible material, thought to make up more than 90% of the mass of the universe, has been the longest-standing puzzle in science. Now the puzzle has been solved ­ and in the most unexpected way.

The principal reason for postulating the existence of dark matter was that stars within galaxies and galaxies within galaxy clusters are moving ridiculously fast. Like children on a speeded-up merry-go-round, they ought to be flung off and cast into space.

The favoured explanation for why they stay put has until now been that the speeding stars and galaxies are in the grip of the gravity of a huge quantity of invisible material ­ dark matter.

Now a team of astronomers at the Kitt Peak Observatory believes that, over very large distances, the force of gravity does not lose its strength quite as fast as Sir Isaac Newton would have predicted.

'Since the visible matter has stronger-than-expected gravity, it is capable of holding together galaxies and clusters of galaxies without the help of dark matter,' says Dr Maarten Schwarzschild of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. MC