Physicists finally found the “missing” baryons the Universe

Scientists from the University of Colorado at boulder found a last reservoir of normal matter hiding in the Universe. Out of the ordinary (baryonic) matter consist of all existing physical objects, from stars to black holes. But until now, astrophysicists were able to detect only two-thirds of this substance is created, according to theorists, the process of the Big Bang.

In the new study, an international group of scientists found the missing third, finding her in the space between the galaxies. This missing matter exists in the form of gaseous oxygen at temperatures around 1 million degrees Celsius, says study co-author Michael Shull.

Needless to say that this finding is a huge step for astrophysicists. “This is one of the key pillars of testing the Big Bang theory — definition of baryon ratio of hydrogen, helium and everything else in the periodic table,” says Shull. The study was published June 20 in the journal Nature.

Scientists are quite a good idea of where he is most of the normal matter in the Universe — not to be confused with dark matter, which scientists have not yet found: about 10% is in galaxies, 60% in diffuse clouds of gas lying between the galaxies.

In 2012 Shull and his colleagues predicted that the missing 30% of the baryons are likely in the form of web in space, which is called warm-hot intergalactic medium.

To search for the missing atoms in this region between the galaxies, an international group of scientists sent a series of satellites in the quasar 1ES 1553 — a black hole in the center of the galaxy, which absorbs and emits vast quantities of gas. “This bright space beacon,” says Shull.

Scientists can collect a lot of information on how radiation from the quasar passes through the space, as the sailors watching the beacon through the fog. First, the researchers used the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph on the Hubble space telescope to understand where you could find the missing baryons. Then they found these baryons using the satellite XMM-Newton of the European space Agency.

The study failed to find signatures vysokoobrazovannogo gaseous oxygen, lying between the quasar and our Solar system — and at a high enough density, if extrapolated to the entire Universe, it can be up to 30% of ordinary matter.

“We found the missing baryons,” says Shull.

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