Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"We now have direct evidence"

Nothing on the war(s) today. Something completely different. The Washington Post:
Scientists said that the "bullet cluster," formed by a collision between an enormous cluster of galaxies more than 3 billion light-years away and a smaller galaxy cluster, demonstrated the existence of dark matter. In effect, the collision stripped the dark matter away from visible matter. Once stripped, dark matter was clearly identified by the strong gravitational pull that it exerted.

"We now have direct evidence" of dark matter, said Sean Carroll, a cosmologist in the physics department of the University of Chicago, who did not participate in the study. "There is no way to explain the observations without dark matter."

While the theoretical existence of dark matter has been broadly embraced for years -- and has now been further endorsed by some of the most prominent researchers and institutions in the field -- a strong countertheory has also grown, contending that the laws of gravity established by Newton and Einstein need modification. The group supporting this theory believes that a relatively limited tweaking of those laws, especially as they pertain to the massive nature of faraway galaxies, could explain the missing gravity better than could undetectable dark matter.
America will be judged by history not only for our efforts at preventing conflict and improving the quality of life around the world, but also for our science.


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