Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hubble Finds Huge Ring of Dark Matter

[Via NASA]: While most astronomers have long-suspected the presence and even measured pockets of dark matter, there hasn't been a great deal of large-scale evidence to support this mysterious type of matter's existence. That is, until now.

In a paper published today, astronomers report the finding of a huge ring of dark matter using the Hubble Space Telescope in the cluster ZwCl0024+1652, the largest to date. Their results will be published in the June 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal.

"This is the first time we have detected dark matter as having a unique structure that is different from the gas and galaxies in the cluster," said M. James Jee, an astronomer from Johns Hopkins University, in a statement.

The ring is 2.6 million light-years across (that's really big), and was discovered in the cluster ZwCl0024+1652, located 5 billion light-years away from Earth.

NASA will be holding a press conference at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern. Additional images from the press conference will be published here

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