The answer? Nobody knows. But maybe this image from the American Museum of Natural History, which was created via computer simulation, might help us to at least visualize how this unknown substance is spread across the whole Universe.
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The gravity of unseen dark matter is the leading explanation for why galaxies rotate so fast, why galaxies orbit clusters so fast, why gravitational lenses so strongly deflect light, and why visible matter is distributed as it is both in the local universe and on the cosmic microwave background.
In this frame from a detailed computer simulation, complex filaments of dark matter, shown in black, are strewn about the universe like spider webs, while the relatively rare clumps of familiar baryonic matter are colored orange. These simulations are good statistical matches to astronomical observations.
It’s kind of cool, and at the same time scary, to see how our universe is filled with, and is influenced, by an unknown substance.
What are your thoughts about this one?
(Image Credit: Tom Abel & Ralf Kaehler (KIPAC, SLAC), AMNH)