<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the evidence for the existence of dark matter.
  • Explain neutrino oscillations and the consequences thereof.

One of the most exciting problems in physics today is the fact that there is far more matter in the universe than we can see. The motion of stars in galaxies and the motion of galaxies in clusters imply that there is about 10 times as much mass as in the luminous objects we can see. The indirectly observed non-luminous matter is called dark matter    . Why is dark matter a problem? For one thing, we do not know what it is. It may well be 90% of all matter in the universe, yet there is a possibility that it is of a completely unknown form—a stunning discovery if verified. Dark matter has implications for particle physics. It may be possible that neutrinos actually have small masses or that there are completely unknown types of particles. Dark matter also has implications for cosmology, since there may be enough dark matter to stop the expansion of the universe. That is another problem related to dark matter—we do not know how much there is. We keep finding evidence for more matter in the universe, and we have an idea of how much it would take to eventually stop the expansion of the universe, but whether there is enough is still unknown.


The first clues that there is more matter than meets the eye came from the Swiss-born American astronomer Fritz Zwicky in the 1930s; some initial work was also done by the American astronomer Vera Rubin. Zwicky measured the velocities of stars orbiting the galaxy, using the relativistic Doppler shift of their spectra (see [link] (a)). He found that velocity varied with distance from the center of the galaxy, as graphed in [link] (b). If the mass of the galaxy was concentrated in its center, as are its luminous stars, the velocities should decrease as the square root of the distance from the center. Instead, the velocity curve is almost flat, implying that there is a tremendous amount of matter in the galactic halo. Although not immediately recognized for its significance, such measurements have now been made for many galaxies, with similar results. Further, studies of galactic clusters have also indicated that galaxies have a mass distribution greater than that obtained from their brightness (proportional to the number of stars), which also extends into large halos surrounding the luminous parts of galaxies. Observations of other EM wavelengths, such as radio waves and X rays, have similarly confirmed the existence of dark matter. Take, for example, X rays in the relatively dark space between galaxies, which indicates the presence of previously unobserved hot, ionized gas (see [link] (c)).

Theoretical yearnings for closure

Is the universe open or closed? That is, will the universe expand forever or will it stop, perhaps to contract? This, until recently, was a question of whether there is enough gravitation to stop the expansion of the universe. In the past few years, it has become a question of the combination of gravitation and what is called the cosmological constant    . The cosmological constant was invented by Einstein to prohibit the expansion or contraction of the universe. At the time he developed general relativity, Einstein considered that an illogical possibility. The cosmological constant was discarded after Hubble discovered the expansion, but has been re-invoked in recent years.

Questions & Answers

Determine the total force and the absolute pressure on the bottom of a swimming pool 28.0m by 8.5m whose uniform depth is 1 .8m.
Henny Reply
for the answer to complete, the units need specified why
muqaddas Reply
That's just how the AP grades. Otherwise, you could be talking about m/s when the answer requires m/s^2. They need to know what you are referring to.
Suppose a speck of dust in an electrostatic precipitator has 1.0000×1012 protons in it and has a net charge of –5.00 nC (a very large charge for a small speck). How many electrons does it have?
Alexia Reply
how would I work this problem
how can you have not an integer number of protons? If, on the other hand it supposed to be 1e12, then 1.6e-19C/proton • 1e12 protons=1.6e-7 C is the charge of the protons in the speck, so the difference between this and 5e-9C is made up by electrons
what is angular velocity
Obaapa Reply
angular velocity can be defined as the rate of change in radian over seconds.
Why does earth exert only a tiny downward pull?
Mya Reply
Why is light bright?
Abraham Reply
what is radioactive element
Attah Reply
an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
Aisha Reply
thanks so much. i undersooth well
Valdes Reply
what is physics
Nwafor Reply
is the study of matter in relation to energy
physics can be defined as the natural science that deals with the study of motion through space,time along with its related concepts which are energy and force
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
Obrian Reply
what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
what do we call velocity
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
what about the wind vane
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?

Get the best College physics for ap... course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics for ap® courses' conversation and receive update notifications?