New Hyper Suprime-Cam Survey Has Produced A Detailed Map Which Shows Dark Matter In The Universe

The HSC shows the universe's three-dimensional distribution of dark matter in a deep wide field map.

A representation of dark matter and space.
NASA / Getty Images

The HSC shows the universe's three-dimensional distribution of dark matter in a deep wide field map.

A team of international researchers have just released a new map through the Hyper Suprime-Cam survey (HSC) that shows the universe’s three-dimensional distribution of matter — including dark matter — in what is currently the deepest wide field map of its kind.

As Phys.org reports, Carnegie Mellon University’s Rachel Mandelbaum explained that the new HSC map gives scientists a much clearer picture of the distribution of dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

“Our map gives us a better picture of how much dark energy there is and tells us a little more about its properties and how it’s making the expansion of the universe accelerate. The HSC is a great complement to other surveys. Combining data across projects will be a powerful tool as we try uncover more and more about the nature of dark matter and dark energy.”

When looking at the universe right now, it appears quite lumpy. This is because over the past 14 billion years the universe has slowly expanded, which means that gravity has thrust dark matter and galaxies together.

As the gravity responsible for bringing matter together affects how astronomical objects in the universe are viewed, when we gaze at distant galaxies through telescopes we may find that they are oftentimes distorted — a process that is known as weak gravitation lensing.

However, by studying these distortions, scientists can learn quite a lot about how matter is distributed in the universe, which includes the mysterious dark energy.

The Hyper Suprime-Cam survey obtained its data from Japan’s Subaru telescope — which can be found in Hawaii. By utilizing data gained from the telescope, scientists were able to take a sample from around 10 million galaxies and measure the gravitational distortion within them.

In terms of scope, the Subaru telescope has given scientists a look at galaxies stretching much further back in time than has ever been possible with previous surveys. One example of this is the Dark Energy Survey which — while studying bigger swaths of sky than the HSC — has been limited to the very near universe.

While it’s true that the HSC’s view is much more narrow than that of the Dark Energy Survey, it is nevertheless a much deeper view into the universe, making it possible for scientists to observe what would normally be very faint galaxies, while also constructing a map of how dark matter is distributed in these areas.

The new research — and map of dark matter in the Hyper Suprime-Cam survey — is heading for submission to the Publication of the Astronomical Society of Japan and will be available on arxiv.org soon.