Nautilus

A Short History of the Missing Universe

Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog.

Astronomers have known where the universe’s missing matter has been hiding for the past 20 years. So why did it take so long to find it?Illustris Collaboration

he cosmos plays hide-and-seek. Sometimes, though, even when astronomers have a hunch for where their prey might hide, it can take them decades of searching to confirm it. The case of the universe’s —a case that appears to now be closed, as I reported earlier this month—is one such instance. To me, it is a fascinating tale in which clever cosmological models drew a treasure map that took

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus9 min read
Tantalizing Creatures with Male and Female Genes: Gyandromorphs overturn traditional theories of sexual development.
As they often do after a rainstorm, butterflies had gathered around puddles on Pigeon Mountain in northwest Georgia. Nets in hand, James Adams and his friend Irving Finkelstein watched the insects lapping up salts and proteins dissolved in the muddy
Nautilus7 min read
Evolution Is Really Not That Into Sex: Plants and animals have reproduced without sex for eons. So why did nature bother?
What is sex for? When I regularly queried students at the beginning of my course in evolutionary biology, most responded that it was for reproducing. Reasonable enough, but wrong. In fact, lots of living things reproduce without sex: Asexual reproduc
Nautilus5 min read
Dark Matter Gets a Reprieve in New Analysis
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. The galactic center shines too brightly, like the glow of a metropolis at night where maps show only a town. To mend their cosmic cartography, astrophysicists have spent years debati