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What is dark matter?

What is dark matter?
Daniel James Myers from Worcestershire (age 5-14)

Tiara from Greater London  (age 5-14)

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2 Responses

  1. The ordinary matter that we see using telescopes is only a fraction of the material that makes up the Universe around us; the rest of the mass in the Universe is made of invisible ‘dark matter’. Although we can’t see it, we know it is there through the effects of the extra gravitational force it contributes in galaxies and on larger scales; dark matter controls the structure and destiny of the Universe. Recent theoretical work suggests that much of the dark matter may come in the form of new subatomic particles. To date, no one has isolated a particle of dark matter in the laboratory, though several experimental campaigns are underway, including one by the UK Dark Matter Collaboration based at the Boulby Potash Mine in North Yorkshire.
    For more details see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/deepspace/darkmatter/

  2. Hello Daniel,

    Nobody knows what dark matter is. There are several ideas of what it could be, for example:
    – ghostly sub-atomic particles that do not interact much with ordinary matter
    – vast clouds of cold gas that cannot be seen by telescopes
    – very small stars and planets which are difficult to see

    At the moment many scientists favour the idea of sub-atomic particles. If that is true then there is a chance that these new particles could be created at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva later this year. This is an enormous particle accelerator that will re-create the conditions just after the big bang, and will switch on later this summer, so stay tuned!

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