Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published January 18, 2007 | Supplemental Material + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Dark matter maps reveal cosmic scaffolding


Ordinary baryonic particles (such as protons and neutrons) account for only one-sixth of the total matter in the Universe. The remainder is a mysterious 'dark matter' component, which does not interact via electromagnetism and thus neither emits nor reflects light. As dark matter cannot be seen directly using traditional observations, very little is currently known about its properties. It does interact via gravity, and is most effectively probed through gravitational lensing: the deflection of light from distant galaxies by the gravitational attraction of foreground mass concentrations. This is a purely geometrical effect that is free of astrophysical assumptions and sensitive to all matter—whether baryonic or dark. Here we show high-fidelity maps of the large-scale distribution of dark matter, resolved in both angle and depth. We find a loose network of filaments, growing over time, which intersect in massive structures at the locations of clusters of galaxies. Our results are consistent with predictions of gravitationally induced structure formation, in which the initial, smooth distribution of dark matter collapses into filaments then into clusters, forming a gravitational scaffold into which gas can accumulate, and stars can be built.

Additional Information

© 2007 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 14 November; accepted 30 November 2006; published online 7 January 2007. This work was based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA). We also used data collected from: the XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and NASA; the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; the European Southern Observatory, Chile; the Kitt Peak National Observatory, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which are operated by AURA under cooperative agreement with the American National Science Foundation; the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the American National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.; and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique de France and the University of Hawaii. The photometric redshifts used here were validated using spectra from the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope zCOSMOS survey. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the entire COSMOS collaboration, consisting of more than 70 scientists. We thank T. Roman, D. Taylor and D. Soderblom for help scheduling the extensive COSMOS observations; and A. Laity, A. Alexov, B. Berriman and J. Good for managing online archives and servers for the COSMOS data sets at NASA IPAC/IRSA. This work was supported by grants from NASA (to N.S. and R.M.). A.K. processed the raw HST data, and J.-P.K. masked defects in the image. A.L., J.R. and R.M. catalogued the positions and shapes o galaxies. Y.T. and S.S. obtained multicolour follow-up data, which was processed and calibrated by S.S., P.C., H.McC. and H.A. P.C. determined galaxies' redshifts, and B.M. their stellar mass. N.S. constructed maps of stellar mass and galaxy density. A.F. processed the X-ray image and removed point sources. R.M. and A.R. produced the two-dimensional and tomographic mass maps; J.-L.S. and S.P. developed the wavelet filtering technique. D.B. and A.T. produced the three-dimensional mass reconstruction. J.T., A.F., R.E. and R.M. compared the various tracers of large-scale structure.

Attached Files

Submitted - 0701594.pdf

Supplemental Material - nature05497-s1.pdf


Files (4.9 MB)
Name Size Download all
1.4 MB Preview Download
3.4 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023