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  • Gravity & the Extreme Universe

New image of the early universe refines theories of dark matter

by CIFAR Dec 8 / 14

Image above: Map shows polarized dust emissions in the Milky Way. European Space Agency

The Planck Space Telescope has presented a new image of the universe in its infancy, at 380,000 years old. The image confirms previous results and likely rules out certain theories about mysterious dark matter, which makes up most of the matter in the universe.

The international team of scientists on the European Space Agency’s Planck mission include CIFAR senior fellows Richard Bond and Bart Netterfield (both University of Toronto), Associate George Efstathiou (University of Cambridge, UK) and Advisor Simon White (Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik).

While other experiments have hinted that there might be one kind of dark matter with particles that smash into and destroy each other, Planck’s new results suggest that isn’t likely. Scientists have also predicted a fourth type of neutrino — one of the components of dark matter — called sterile neutrinos. But the new evidence seems to deny their existence too.

The New York Times quoted CIFAR Advisor Lyman Page (Princeton University) saying the results confirm the standard model of cosmology. “What we see is pretty impressive,” he says.